The mass withdrawal of the most influential al-Sadr followers in Iraq exacerbated the uncertainty in Iraq, which in turn deepened the months-long political crisis over the formation of the government.
It was not clear how the extraordinary session requested by 50 council members during its recess would end.
What is required is the presence of a simple majority of 329 members of the Legislative Council for an election session, and Muqtada al-Sadr urged the parliamentary blocs not to submit to the “pressures” of the Iranian-backed factions.
Al-Sadr was the big winner in the general elections held in October, but he was unable to form a coalition to form a majority government.
And he entered into a power struggle with his Iranian-backed opponents, which hindered the formation of a new government.
Two weeks ago, al-Sadr ordered his parliamentary bloc’s representatives to resign in an attempt to break the 8-month stalemate, and the unprecedented move threw the Iraqi political scene into chaos.
According to Iraqi laws, if any seat in the House of Representatives becomes vacant, the candidate who obtains the second largest number of votes in his constituency will replace it.
In this case, Sadr’s opponents from the Coordination Framework, an alliance led by Iran-backed parties, would become the majority, allowing the pro-Iranian factions to determine the formation of the next government.
Although the House of Representatives is in recess, lawmakers – most of them from the coordination framework – called for an extraordinary session, Thursday, to vote on the new legislators.
On Wednesday, al-Sadr accused Iran’s proxies of political interference, and accused them of exerting pressure on newly elected independent politicians and allies of the Sadrist bloc he leads, and called on lawmakers not to succumb to pressure.
He said in a statement: “I call on the blocs to stand courageously for reform and save the country and not to succumb to sectarian pressures, as bubbles will disappear.”
The Iraqi elections were held several months ahead of schedule in response to mass protests that erupted at the end of 2019 and saw tens of thousands mobilize against rampant corruption, poor services and unemployment.
The political stalemate led to the spread of fears of renewed protests and street clashes between Sadr’s supporters and their opponents from other blocs.