Iraqi leaders urge political dialogue to end stalemate
Iraqi President Barham Salih and Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi on Saturday called on political rivals to make concessions and sit at the dialogue table in a bid to find a way out of the lingering stalemate.
The Iraqi leaders made the call in speeches addressing the Islamic Conference to Combat Violence against Women, held in Baghdad.
Salih underlined that the existing challenges haunting the country necessitate good understanding and concessions from all parties only to serve Iraq's national interests and planned reforms.
He urged everybody in the country to resort to dialogue regardless of outstanding disagreements and to fend off escalation and strife, where there would be no winners.
For his part, the prime minister stressed that all political rivals should make concessions so as to avert the nation being dragged into further political conflicts and challenges.
He added that the national dialogue initiative is the sole right way to solve the country's political crisis.
Iraq has been embroiled in a stifling political crisis due to the failure of political blocs to form a new government following November parliament elections
Only last week, Iraq's top officials and political leaders had called on prominent Shiite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr loyalists to engage in a national dialogue to break the country's political deadlock.
In a meeting that was attended by Salih, Parliament Speaker Mohammed Al-Halbousi, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, and leaders of Iraqi national political forces, participants "expressed their commitment to finding a solution to all crises through dialogue to preserve the unity of Iraq, the security, and stability of its people".
Participants of the meeting also called for an end to all forms of field, media or political escalation and urged Al-Sadr's followers in the Sadrist Movement, who have staged sit-in protests, to engage in the national dialogue. Al-Sadr and his followers were absent from this meeting.
The leaders agreed to continue the dialogue in order to draw a legal and constitutional road map to address the current deadlock.
"Resorting once again to the polls through early elections is not an exceptional event in the history of democratic experiences when political crises reach dead ends," the statement said, referring to the possibility of dissolving the parliament to hold new elections demanded by Al-Sadr.
Al-Kadhimi invited the rival political parties to hold a meeting to seek a solution to the political deadlock as disputes escalated in the past weeks between Al-Sadr and his rivals from the Coordination Framework (CF), an umbrella group of Shiite parliamentary parties.
On Aug. 3, Al-Sadr urged his followers to continue their sit-in protest until their demands to dissolve the parliament and hold early elections are met.
The CF became the largest alliance in the Iraqi parliament after Al-Sadr ordered his followers in the Sadrist Movement, the biggest winner of the elections held on Oct. 10, 2021, with 73 seats, to withdraw from the parliament.
During the past months, the continued disputes among the Shiite parties have hampered the formation of a new Iraqi government, making it unable to elect a new president by a two-thirds majority of the 329-seat parliament under the constitution.
If elected, the president will appoint the prime minister nominated by the largest alliance in the parliament, now the CF, to form a new government that would rule the country for the next four years.