Middle East

Iraq's Sadr calls for early polls

Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr calls for polls overseen by UN

Mahmoud Barakat   | 28.10.2019
Iraq's Sadr calls for early polls

BAGHDAD 

Iraqi prominent Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr in a written statement on Monday called for holding early elections amid ongoing anti-government protests.

Al-Sadr, who leads Sairoon political bloc which currently holds the majority of the parliament, called on Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi to announce early elections overseen by the UN.

He stressed that the current political parties should not participate in the early elections citing that the parliament did not take anti-corruption steps.

Sairoon block secured majority in the parliament with 54 seats out of 329 in the country's parliamentary polls held in 2018.

At least 75 people have been killed and more than 3,600 others injured since the second wave of protests began on Friday, according to human rights groups.

The first wave of protests in early October left 149 protesters and eight security personnel dead.

Anger has been building in Iraq in recent years due to rising unemployment and rampant corruption. Scores of people in the country have limited access to basic services such as electricity and clean water.

According to World Bank figures, Iraq's youth unemployment is around 25%. It was also ranked the 12th most-corrupt country in the world, according to several transparency organizations.

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