Sadr Opponents Confused After Iraq MP Resignations

Sadr seen taking opposition to the streets

The October 10 election has yet to result in a government being formed, and plurality holder Moqtada al-Sadr appears to have precluded doing so, with the resignation of every one of his 73 MPs over the weekend.

What’s going to happen next isn’t clear, and Sadr’s rivals are quoted as finding the move confusing. The State of Law framework held emergency meetings Sunday to discuss the situation.

The resigned MPs are to be replaced with second-place finishers from the vote, and State of Law could be the primary beneficiary, with as many as 50 seats gained this way. This would give them, superficially, a chance to govern.

Sadr called on the resignations specifically because he couldn’t put together a government. State of Law offered a grand coalition, and Sadr didn’t want to govern together, saying his anti-corruption bloc wasn’t elected to be part of such a government.

With no MPs, Sadr isn’t headed to the political opposition either, though the situation does make him a de facto opposition leader, poised to take the opposition into the streets with hundreds of thousands of followers.

Sadr raised his preferred option before to be a new election, determining this one to be deadlocked. Though State of Law could try to form a government now, doing so after Sadr’s resignations, and explicit opposition to the old guard continuing to govern, would probably bolster Sadr’s position in a public increasingly fed up with the status quo.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.