BAGHDAD ( Associated Press) — A large group of lawmakers from the largest bloc in Iraq’s parliament resigned Sunday amid a severe political crisis, plunging the country into uncertainty.
The 73 are lawmakers from the bloc of powerful Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and tendered their resignations at his request.
The resignations are in protest at the political stalemate that continues despite the fact that the elections were held eight months ago.
Parliament head Mohamed al-Halbusi accepted the resignations.
Al-Sadr, known for leading an insurgency against US forces after the 2003 invasion, emerged as the main winner of elections held in October.
The elections were held months ahead of schedule due to massive protests in late 2019 against corruption, unemployment and lack of public services.
The elections gave Al-Sadr the limelight and were a setback for his rivals, the Iranian-backed Shiites, who lost about two-thirds of their seats and have so far rejected the results.
Al-Sadr has been hell-bent on forming a government with his allies and one that excludes rival Shiites. But he has failed to attract enough lawmakers to parliament to win the two-thirds majority needed to elect the president, a crucial step in naming the next prime minister and cabinet.
At the moment it was not clear what consequences the massive resignation of the legislators will have.
Under Iraqi law, when a lawmaker resigns, they must be replaced by the candidate who received the second-highest number of votes for that position.
That would benefit al-Sadr’s rivals in the so-called Framework for Coordination, a coalition of Shiite clerics backed by Iran. Al-Sadr is unlikely to accept that.
There are fears the crisis could lead to protests by al-Sadr supporters, or violence between them and rival Shiite militias.