President Salih says early elections could be an ‘exit’ from political stalemate  

At least 30 supporters of the cleric have been killed during the clashes, per the medics.
President Barham Salih delivering a speech in capital Baghdad, August 30, 2022. (Photo: AFP Photo / HO / Iraqi Presidency)
President Barham Salih delivering a speech in capital Baghdad, August 30, 2022. (Photo: AFP Photo / HO / Iraqi Presidency)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Holding early elections could save the country from further political crisis, Iraqi President Barham Salih said in a speech on Tuesday.

The presidential remarks came after a speech by the firebrand Shiite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr who demanded his followers vacate Baghdad’s Green Zone, where they exchanged fires with their pro-Iran rivals for 24 hours.

The deadly chaos was ended by Sadr’s order, giving his followers an hour to end the violence, against which he went on a hunger strike.

"Holding new, early elections in accordance with a national consensus represents an exit from the stifling crisis," President Salih said in a televised speech, adding new polls would guarantee “political and social stability” in the country.

At least 30 supporters of the cleric have been killed during the clashes, per the medics speaking to AFP.

Since he withdraw his 73 members of parliament in June, Moqtada Al-Sadr has been calling for the dissolution of parliament and the holding of a new legislative election. The last time Iraqis went to the polls was in October 2021.

According to the Iraqi constitution, the prime minister – with the approval of the president – can request the dissolution of the legislature, which can be done so by an absolute majority vote.

In early August, the Speaker of Parliament Mohammad Halboosi expressed his support for holding early elections to salvage the country from further political stalemate.