In a move that could further inflame tensions in the country, Iraqi Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr has announced that he is quitting political life and closing his political offices.
On Monday, al-Sadr expressed, “I hereby announce my final withdrawal,” in a statement published on Twitter, which came amid months of protests by his supporters backing his call for the dissolution of the Iraqi parliament.
Al-Sadr attacked his political opponents in the statement, adding that they had not listened to his calls for reform.
Since the end of July, when they stormed the building and stopped al-Sadr’s rivals from appointing a new prime minister, many of al-Sadr’s supporters have been participating in a sit-in outside the Iraqi parliament.
Many of those supporters at the sit-in attempted to bring down security barriers and converge on a rival sit-in in reaction to their leader’s statement.
In October’s parliamentary elections, al-Sadr’s supporters had won the most seats but were unable to form a government.
Although it handed the initiative in parliament to his Iran-backed Shia opponents, the Coordination Framework Alliance, he ordered his parliamentary bloc to resign en-masse in June.
In order to decide on whether the parliament will be dissolved, Iraq’s Supreme Federal Court is meeting on Tuesday.
Al-Sadr has announced his withdrawal from political life before, though he later changed his decision to do so.