Iraq’s Sadr says he won’t participate in early elections

Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr delivers a sermon to worshippers during Eid al-Fitr prayers marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan at the Kufa mosque near Najaf, Iraq June 5, 2019. (Reuters)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr announced on Thursday he will not participate in the upcoming early elections scheduled for October 10.

Sadr, leader of Sadrist Movement, said he had withdrawn his support for those who claim to belong to him in the current government and the cabinet that will be elected to replace it.

“To preserve what has left of the country and to save the country that was burned by corruption, I inform you that I will not take part in this election because a homeland is more important than that,” Sadr said in a televised speech.

Sadr said he was “withdrawing his hand from those who belong to this current government and the following one”.

Sadr’s Sairoon electoral won the 2018 parliamentary election, gaining 54 seats.

He has millions of followers in Iraq, controls a large paramilitary group, and is a long-time adversary of the United States who also opposes Iranian influence in Iraq.

*This story was updated at 12:50 p.m. EBL time

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