Al-Sadr calls for early elections, dissolving parliament
The leader of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada Al-Sadr, calls on his supporters to continue their sit-in until their demands are met.
Iraqi leader Muqtada Al-Sadr, whose bloc won the most seats in Iraq's elections last year, demanded Wednesday that parliament be dissolved and new elections be held.
Nearly 10 months on from the last elections, the country still has no government and no new prime minister or president after repeated quarrels between factions over forming a coalition.
Al-Sadr called for a "revolutionary and peaceful process, then early democratic elections after a dissolution of parliament."
"I am certain that the majority of the population is exasperated by the ruling class in its entirety, including some (politicians) belonging to my movement," Al-Sadr said.
His televised speech came as his supporters occupied parliament for a fifth consecutive day, angered by the candidacy of Mohammad Shia Al-Sudani, who was nominated for the premiership by the Coordination Framework.
On their part, supporters of the Framework flocked Monday to the Green Zone entrance to participate in a demonstration that raised the slogan "supporting legitimacy and preserving the constitution."
It is noteworthy that on Sunday, the Framework called on the Iraqi people to demonstrate peacefully to "defend their state," adding that "it continues calling for dialogue with all political forces, especially the brothers in the Sadrist movement."
Al-Sadr claimed that "from now on there will be no more old-guard politicians, whatever their affiliation."
Al-Sadr: "No interest" in negotiating with rivals
The Iraqi leader also mentioned that he had "no interest" in negotiating with his rivals.
Surrounding parliament, the cleric's supporters have set up an encampment with tents and food stalls.
Al-Sadr said that "the revolutionaries and protesters participating in the sit-in must stay and continue their camp until the demands are realized."
"Don't believe the rumors that I don't want dialogue," he claimed. "But we have already tried and experienced dialogue with them."
"It has brought nothing to us and to the nation -- only ruin and corruption," he added.
Outgoing Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi has called for a "national dialogue" in a bid to bring all sides together to talk, and on Wednesday he spoke with President Barham Salih.
Both leaders stressed the importance of "guaranteeing security and stability" in the country, according to the Iraqi News Agency.
UN calls for "urgent" solutions to Iraq political crisis
Earlier on Wednesday, the United Nations mission in Iraq called on leaders to put their country first and end the long-running power struggle.
"Meaningful dialogue among all Iraqi parties is now more urgent than ever, as recent events have demonstrated the rapid risk of escalation in this tense political climate," the UN mission warned.
"We appeal to all actors to commit, actively engage and agree on solutions without delay," it added, warning that "leaders must prioritize (the) national interest."