By Simon Kent.
As Iraq's political crisis drags on, Moqtada al Sadr's erratic posturing continues. Last month, he called for mass demonstrations outside of the International Zone in Baghdad, formerly the Green Zone, and threatened to storm the area with protesters unless PM Abadi appointed a technocratic cabinet.
But when Abadi announced 14 nominees, Al Sadr (pictured) called the move "courageous" and called off the protest.
Abadi's rivals then complained bitterly that they had not been consulted enough on the nomination process, and proceeded to form their own cross sectarian protest group of around 150 MPs, who have staged a sit in protest inside parliament, demanding the Parliament Speaker Salim al Jubbouri steps down, as well as PM Abadi and the President.
Jubbouri has not budged, saying there are not enough MPs for his ouster, as stipulated in the constitution, therefore Iraq now has two competing Parliament Speakers. Sensing more chaos, Sadr has called on his MPs to end their sit in, while calling for more demonstrations to pressure parliament to appoint the new cabinet.
The hard line cleric showed a softer side, noting,
"We call upon the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the United Nations to interfere to get the Iraqi people out of their ordeal and to correct the political process even through holding early elections."
A good place for the cleric to start would be to contact the United Nations Assistance Mission-Iraq (UNAMI) and the prospect of early elections has been mentioned before, although various parties have questioned whether it would be allowed in the constitution.
(Source: Associated Press)