Iraq’s parliament speaker calls for early elections

Iraqi Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi has called on the parliamentary blocs to hold new rounds of dialogue to agree on various issues, including early elections.

“The agenda of the upcoming national dialogue rounds must include several issues that must be agreed upon, including setting a date for early parliamentary and provincial council elections no later than the end of 2023,” al-Halbousi said in a statement on Sunday.

He called for discussing the election of the President of the republic, the formation of a government with full powers, the adoption of the annual federal budget, in addition to the amendment of several vital laws.

He also called for discussing the immediate return of the displaced to their homes, as well as the relations between Baghdad and the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan, Xinhua news agency reported.

According to local media reports, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi is expected to invite the political parties for a new round of national dialogue to discuss the months-long political deadlock in the country.

In August, Iraqi political parties held a round of dialogue at the invitation of al-Kadhimi to find a way out of the stifling crisis in the country, but prominent Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr did not attend the dialogue meeting.

Political tensions in Iraq have escalated in the past weeks between al-Sadr and his rivals in the Shia Coordination Framework, an umbrella group of Shia parliamentary parties.

During the past months, the continued disputes among the Shia parties have hampered the formation of a new Iraqi government, making it unable to elect a new President by a two-thirds majority of the 329-seat parliament under the Iraqi Constitution.

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