By Arif Yusuf
BAGHDAD (AA) - Iraq’s firebrand Shia preacher Muqtada al-Sadr has called for a “popular uprising” against the local government in protest against the slow pace of reforms.
In a statement issued Sunday, al-Sadr said the current situation in Iraq “does not augur well.”
“I’m waiting for a major peaceful revolution against Daesh patrons of terrorism and corruption in the current government,” he said.
“Hope remains with the people and the people must rise up one day,” al-Sadr added.
Iraq has been embroiled in a deepening political crisis since April, when al-Sadr loyalists staged a number of protests to pressure Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to unveil a government of technocrats untainted by corruption or sectarian affiliations.
Ghaleb al-Zamili, a member of the pro-Sadr Ahrar bloc in the Iraqi parliament, said there had been no progress regarding reforms pledged by the Iraqi government.
“Al-Sadr wants protests...to continue and wants to see a change on the ground with a view to serving the people,” al-Zamili told Anadolu Agency.
Iraq ranks 161st out of 168 countries on Transparency International’s "corruption perceptions index".