Amid a boycott by influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, leaders of Iraqi political parties launched a national dialogue on Wednesday in an attempt to resolve the country’s political crisis.
The Sadr movement said in a statement that it will not participate in the dialogue called by Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.
UN envoy to Iraq Jeanine Plasschaert also attended Wednesday’s session of dialogue.
Following the nomination of Mohammed Shia al-Sudani as a new prime minister by the Coordination Framework, a coalition of groups close to Iran, tension flared up in Iraq in recent days.
The move triggered mass protests, calling for the dissolution of the Iraqi Parliament and the holding of early elections, from supporters of al-Sadr.
As the Coordination Framework hampered the Cabinet’s formation, 73 lawmakers of al-Sadr’s movement resigned from the 329-seat Parliament after failing to form a “national majority” government last June.
Following the country’s general elections last October, which failed since then to agree on a new government between the rival parties, Iraq has been in a political deadlock for nine months.