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Iraq judiciary says 'no authority' to dissolve parliament

MohammadHuzam / Wikimedia Commons

Political tensions remain high in Iraq as its government remains at a standstill. The top judicial body of the country responded to Iraqi Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr’s warning, saying it has no authority to dissolve parliament.

Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council responded to the call of Sadr to dissolve parliament, saying that it has no authority to make such a decision. Sadr previously warned to dissolve parliament for new elections to take place. The council said it has no authority to interfere in the executive and legislative decisions.

The council said in its statement, however, that it agrees with Sadr’s criticism of the system’s “failure to elect a president of the republic, a prime minister, and the absence of a government formed within a constitutional timeframe.”

“This is an unacceptable situation that must be remedied,” said the statement.

The response by the judiciary would likely escalate tensions between Sadr’s supporters and the Iran-backed groups under the Coordination Framework. Sadr’s supporters stormed parliament to suspend a session that would nominate a new prime minister.

Sadr’s bloc won the most seats in the October elections last year. However, the bloc fell short of having a majority that could exclude the pro-Iran lawmakers. Sadr and his lawmakers resigned from parliament after eight months of deadlock.

Sadr also called on his supporters Saturday night to be ready to hold massive protests all over the country, which would increase tensions in its political climate. Sadr did not specify the date of when the protests would take place.

Along with the supporters of Sadr, those who support the pro-Iran groups have also taken to the streets to protest, insisting that a new government be formed based on the results of the elections back in October.

The protests appear to underline the political divisions in the country, with fears of unrest increasing from the recent protests and counter-protests.

The populist Sadr has been looking to strengthen ties with Arab nations, including Iran’s rival in the region, Saudi Arabia. Sadr has also been critical of the widespread corruption in the country, plagued by the US-led war and the violence that followed.

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