Kosar Nawzad Kosar Nawzad |
Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. (Photo: AFP/Haidar Hamdani)
Sadr Iraq Kurdistan Iraqi Elections
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Influential Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has called on Kurds to participate in the Iraqi parliamentary election with “strength and determination.”
“They have to participate with strength and determination, and the voice of the Kurds must triumph over the injustice and corruption same with the Shias and the Sunnis,” Sadr said in response to a question on his website about the participation of the Kurds and the Sunnis.
Kurdish support for the fateful election next week will be crucial in the formation of a new Iraqi government, and that support will be of special importance to the new prime minister.
Corruption and mismanagement have become critical issues in Iraq after the sharp fall in oil prices in 2014, reducing the state budget at a time when additional income is needed to pay for the cost of the war against the Islamic State (IS).
Despite the protests, including those led by Sadr, corruption continues to deplete government resources as it struggles to cope with a rise in spending due to the cost of the war against IS and the challenges of rebuilding cities freed from the extremist group’s grip.
“All minorities must participate firmly and resolutely in the election,” Sadr said, referring to Christians and other ethnic components.
Over 24 million Iraqis are entitled to participate in the ballot to elect 329 deputies in Parliament from about 7,000 candidates in all governorates.
Sadr’s alliance and a section of the Communist party form a coalition partaking in the upcoming parliamentary election. This will be the first election after the defeat of IS, the second after the US forces’ withdrawal from Iraq, and the fourth since 2003.
Sadr’s alliance currently holds 34 seats in Parliament giving him considerable influence in the capital and the predominately Shia southern provinces of Iraq.
The winner will face an arduous task of rebuilding the war-ravaged country and battling the rampant corruption borne by the management of Iraq’s oil revenue.
An estimated $100 billion is required to rebuild the country’s infrastructure, housing, and commercial interests ruined by three years of war.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany