World Bulletin / News Desk
Firebrand Iraqi Shia cleric and politician Muqtada al-Sadr has called on followers to stage mass demonstrations in Baghdad on Wednesday to demand reform of Iraq’s official electoral commission.
"We demand reform of the electoral commission, both in terms of its membership and its bylaws," read a statement issued by a committee tasked with organizing Sadrist rallies.
Wednesday’s protest will be considered a "first step", the statement added, warning that "escalatory steps" would be taken if demonstrators’ demands were not met.
According to Manaf al-Musawi, an al-Sadr supporter, one such "escalatory step" would be an "open sit-in outside the Green Zone" in Baghdad.
The Sadrist movement, he went on to assert, was "determined" to see reforms made to Iraq’s electoral commission, which, he said, had been established along "sectarian" lines.
Iraqi legislative elections are slated to be held in April of next year.
For the past year, al-Sadr’s supporters have staged numerous protests in Baghdad in an effort to pressure Prime Minister Hayder al-Abadi to appoint a government of "technocrats" untainted by corruption or sectarian affiliations.
In a dramatic turn of events last summer, thousands of Sadr loyalists stormed Iraq’s parliament building in the capital’s heavily-fortified Green Zone to press home their demands.
In mid-2015, parliament approved a sweeping raft of reforms ostensibly aimed at meeting popular demands to eliminate widespread government corruption and streamline state bureaucracy.
Last year, Iraq -- a major OPEC exporter which sits on one of the world's largest oil reserves -- ranked 161st out of 168 countries on Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index.Last Mod: 07 Şubat 2017, 15:15