Iraqi National Dialogue starts at the Government Palace, Al-Sadr boycotts

Iraqi National Dialogue starts at the Government Palace, Al-Sadr boycotts

Shafaq News/ The Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi's media office announced the second political dialogue session among the Iraqi forces.

The PM office did not mention the parties participating in the dialogue. Still, earlier, the Sadrist Movement, headed by the influential Shiite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr said it would boycott the talks.

Last August, Al-Kadhimi called the political forces to a "serious national dialogue" at the Government Palace in Baghdad to solve the political crisis.

Iraq's parliament speaker Mohammad al-Halboosi said on Sunday that the national dialogue in Iraq should touch upon the Baghdad-Erbil disputes over the management of the Kurdistan region's oil wealth and reconsider the deployment of the security forces in the major cities.

In a tweet, al-Halboosi rolled out a list of points he believes will crack the national dialogue meetings plan, including holding early parliamentary elections, electing a president, passing the federal budget, returning the Internally displaced persons to their hometowns, and forming a "consensus government with full powers."

Al-Halboosi said that the national dialogue talks should also agree on "an interpretation for Article 76 of the constitution and annul the shameful circumvention that tampers with the provisions of this article", referring to the political pressures that followed the 2010 election.

Iraq marked its most extended post-election deadlock as infighting among Shi'ite groups, in particular, prevented the formation of a government.

More than ten months since the October election, lawmakers tasked with choosing a president and prime minister looked no closer to an agreement, bringing the country to a record without a head of state or cabinet.

The outgoing government of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi continues to run the country. However, if parties cannot agree on a new government, Kadhimi might stay as caretaker until recent elections.

In a sign of further potential delays, thousands of supporters of populist Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr stormed Baghdad's parliament, then the Judiciary building chanting slogans against Shi'ite political rivals just days after they indicated agreement on a potential prime minister.

Iraqis say the situation is exacerbating a lack of services and jobs even as Baghdad earns record oil income because of high crude prices and has seen no significant wars since the defeat of ISIS five years ago.

In addition, the disagreement among the main Kurdish parties that run the Kurdistan region in northern Iraq prevents the selection of a president who, once chosen by parliament, names a prime minister.

The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party has held the presidency since 2003.

Their rivals, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which claimed the most significant number of Kurdish votes by far, are insisting on their presidential candidate. But unfortunately, neither side appears willing to budge.

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