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Iraqi Shia Activists Protest Against Parliament’s Deadlock On New Cabinet

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Iraq Shia Muslim activists have stormed the country’s Parliament in protest against present deadlock in approving a new cabinet.

In the protest, supporters of fellow (Shia) Cleric Moqtada Sadr accessed the parliament via barricades of the protected Green Zone in Baghdad, after many of the lawmakers failed to convene for a vote.

Following the development, a state of emergency has been declared in Baghdad, the Iraqi capital.

Sadr desires that Prime Minister (PM) Haider al-Abadi, commit to a plan to replace Ministers with non-partisan technocrats, but powerful parties in the parliament have rejected the move for several weeks.

There have been protests earlier in the week, in which many people marched towards the green zone – which is the most secured part of Baghdad and host of embassies as well as government buildings, to protest against the deadlock.

Failure of the parliament to form a quorum Saturday resulted to another protest outside the zone.

The protesters stopped lawmakers who attempted to flee the legislative building, just as they chanted hostile expressions.

However, as the protest raged, a bomb explosion was recorded, which involved a car in the capital Baghdad. It was said that the eruption which killed about 21 people was targeted at a group of Shia Muslim pilgrims.

Iraq’s system of sharing government jobs has since been criticized for promoting nepotism and encouraging corruption.
PM Abadi, who assumed power in 2014, has promised to stamp out corruption and ease sectarian tensions, but he has failed to introduce a new technocratic cabinet.

A survey by the Pew Research Centre in 2011 indicated that 51 per cent of Iraqi Muslims identified themselves as Shia, as against 42 per cent who admitted being Sunni.

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