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Lawmakers From Largest Faction in Iraq’s Parliament Resign To Break Deadlock

All 73 representatives from the Sadrist Movement, the biggest winner in Iraq’s Oct. 10 elections, resigned from the Council of Representatives, Iraq’s parliament, on Sunday, at the bequest of movement leader Muqtada al-Sadr, a prominent Shiite cleric. Al-Sadr wrote that the resignation was “a sacrifice from me for the sake of the homeland and the people to rid them of an unknown fate.” The Sadrist Movement was part of the Saving the Homeland alliance, which also included the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), led by Masoud Barzani, and the Sunni Sovereignty Alliance, co-led by Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi. But, noted al-Sadr in his statement, these partners were no longer allied with him. On Thursday, al-Sadr threatened to take his bloc into the opposition or completely withdraw from the political process unless a national majority government was formed. Continuing disputes among the Shiite parties over the past months have stood in the way of the formation of a new Iraqi government, as the 329-seat parliament has failed to elect a new president by the two-thirds majority required under the constitution. An elected president is needed to appoint the prime minister, who then serves as the head of the new government. Pro-Iranian rivals to al-Sadr want the new government to include all political blocs, as was the case in all successive Iraqi governments since 2003.