Iraqi rival leaders to meet at government palace, finding way out of political deadlock

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Iraqi parties are set to meet on Wednesday in Baghdad aimed to address the problems after Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has called on rival political leaders to find a way out of the deadlock over forming a new government, worrying that the current stand-off could turn violent.

Iraqi media reported that the parties are set to convene in the government palace in Baghdad to launch a national dialogue as an initiative de-escalating the situation.

“The meeting objective is to launch a serious national dialogue and joint thinking in order to find the needed solutions to the current political crisis” State media cited a statement from Prime Minister al-Kadhimi as saying.

It is not completely clear who will attend the meeting, but according to information obtained by Esta Media Network Kurdish parties are set to join, and President of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) Bafel Jalal Talabani arrived in Baghdad on Wednesday to take a part in the high-level meeting.

Iraq held early elections in October 2021 in response to one of the core demands of a nationwide, pro-reform protest movement that erupted mainly in Baghdad in 2019 and southern parts of the country as well.

The Sadrist movement which emerged as the major winner of the latest Iraq’s election has formally withdrawn from the parliament last June with 73 seats behind after its leader, powerful Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr failed to form the government with his Kurdish ally the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Sunnis.

Since then, he has chosen to take the streets by inciting his supporters to storm the parliament building, preventing his political opponent, the Shiite coordination framework from a government out of the Sadrists. This created wide political strife, bringing a new intra-Shiite power struggle.

Iraq’s political unrest deepened when supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr stormed the legislative building and camped outside of the assembly on July 30. Hampering the MPs to elect the new cabinet and recover from a decade of conflict and economic hardships.

The bitter rivalry among political leaders, mainly among the country’s majority Shiites, has delayed the process to form a government. With the Shiites divided there are fears that Iraq could slide into intra-sectarian violent conflict.

On Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi invited the political leaders to a national dialogue at the government palace in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone.

After weeks of storming Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone and holding a sit-in, where the parliament and foreign embassies are located the supporters of Sadrist continue to camp outside the legislative building, refusing to leave until their demands are met. Calling for a snap election and constitutional amendments.

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