Will Sadr’s Kurdish, Sunni allies form government with his Shiite rivals?
Sadrist Movement leader Muqtada Al-Sadr’s Kurdish and Sunni allies have rejected his call on them to also leave the legislature and demand the dissolution of the parliament. Instead, they are seemingly joining Sadr’s Shiite rivals in urging the formation of a government ahead of fresh elections.

Meanwhile, Iraq’s chief justice has called for reform geared to prevent delays in government formation and to further clarify powers relevant to the dissolution of parliaments. This follows the federal supreme court’s dismissal of a Sadrist petition for the legislature to be dissolved.
The head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Masoud Barzani, received Sunni Parliament Speaker Mohammed Al-Halbousi and Sovereignty Alliance chief Khamis Al-Khanjar in Erbil on Sept. 11.
The trio asserted “the importance of holding early elections,” but stated that polls should follow “the formation of a government that has full authority.” They also stressed the importance of “the parliament continuing its work until [new] elections are held,” highlighting the need for “constructive dialogue” to overcome the political deadlock.
The meeting in Erbil was held days after Sadr called on his Kurdish and Sunni allies as well as independent MPs to also resign from the parliament.
The Twitter account Salih Mohammad Al-Iraqi—known for channeling the views of the Sadrist Movement chief—quoted Sadr on Sept. 8 as saying that the return of his MPs to the parliament is “strictly prohibited.” Sadr was also quoted as saying that the mass resignation of Sadrist lawmakers in June was aimed at “blocking all routes for consensus” with the Iran-backed Shiite Coordination Framework.
Ex-premier Nouri Al-Maliki (2006-14)—a senior Coordination Framework figure and long-time foe of Sadr—on Sept. 11 echoed the views expressed by Barzani, Halbousi and Khanjar. Maliki argued that a new government must be formed as a first step towards a solution to the political crisis.
Referring to the federal supreme court’s Sept. 7 dismissal of a Sadrist petition for the parliament to be dissolved, Maliki added, “Following the judiciary’s ruling…there is no reason to discuss this topic which has been settled constitutionally, judicially and politically.”
The day before, on Sept. 10, Chief Justice Faiq Zidan argued in favor of a review of the constitutional provisions relevant to the political deadlock.
Zidan stated that the judiciary had found the case put forward by Sadr to be “realistic in light of the constitutional violations committed by the parliament.” However, the case was dismissed since only an absolute majority of MPs may dissolve the parliament under the Iraqi constitution.
The Sadrist Movement won the highest number of seats among the blocs which participated in Iraq’s Oct. 2021 parliamentary elections. Sadr subsequently maneuvered to form a “national majority” government with his Kurdish and Sunni allies, sidelining the Coordination Framework parties. After the failure of the gambit, Sadr ordered all 73 Sadrist MPs to resign in June.
With the Sadrists out of the parliament, the Coordination Framework moved to set up a consensus cabinet. However, supporters of Sadr stormed the parliament in late July and staged a sit-in outside the building for weeks. The protesters demanded the dissolution of the parliament, new elections, and constitutional reforms.
In August, the Sadrist Movement petitioned the judiciary to dissolve the parliament on the grounds that the legislature had exceeded the constitutional deadlines set for electing a president and forming a new government.
On Aug. 29, Sadr announced his “retirement” from politics, triggering violent clashes in Baghdad that left dozens dead. At a televised press conference the following day, Sadr seta “60-minute” ultimatum for his followers “to withdraw from [the streets] and even from the protest near the parliament,” warning that he would otherwise step down as head of the Sadrist Movement.
Amid the ongoing contention, Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi has repeatedly emphasized that “dialogue is the only way out of the current political crisis.”
Kadhimi has since mid-August hosted several rounds of talks among political leaders, most recently on Sept. 6. The Sadrist Movement has so far boycotted the sessions, questioning their utility.
The Coordination Framework may renew its efforts to convene the parliament on the back of the recent declarations by Sadr’s allies and the federal supreme court ruling. But such a move could aggravate Sadr, who may respond by directing his loyalists to the streets yet again.
It is not likely that Sadr or his Shiite rivals will opt for escalation ahead of Sept. 17, the culmination of the ongoing Arbaeen The event marks the 40th day after the anniversary of the martyrdom of Hussein ibn Ali, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad.
Sadr is also likely to continue his boycott of Prime Minister Kadhimi’s dialogue initiative.
The federal supreme court is set to hold a hearing on Sept. 28 which will investigate the constitutionality of the Sadrist exit from the parliament.
Amwaj (with revisions).
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