Iraq’s Sadr suspends planned protest amid tension over gov’t formation

Iraq’s Sadr suspends planned protest amid tension over gov’t formation

Supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr planned to stage mass protests on Saturday

By Raed Al-Hamid
BAGHDAD (AA) – Influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has postponed a planned mass protest in Iraq on Saturday until further notice.

"I announce that the Saturday protest has been postponed until further notice," al-Sadr said in a statement.

“The people will continue their sit-in until their demands are achieved," he added.

The firebrand cleric has called on his supporters to rally on Saturday in the capital Baghdad and other provinces amid tension over the formation of a new government.

Al-Sadr’s supporters have staged protests in recent days following the nomination of Mohammed Shia al-Sudani as a new prime minister by the Coordination Framework, a coalition of groups close to Iran.

The Shia cleric has called for the dissolution of the Iraqi Parliament and holding early elections.

Last June, 73 lawmakers of al-Sadr's movement resigned from the 329-seat Parliament after failing to form a "national majority" government, as the Coordination Framework hampered the Cabinet formation.

Iraq has been in a political deadlock for nine months following the country’s general elections last October, which failed since then to agree on a new government between the rival parties.

*Writing by Mahmoud Barakat

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