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Iraqi cleric accuses Iran’s allies of meddling, as political tensions continue

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BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq’s Parliament is set to hold a session Thursday to vote in replacements for 73 lawmakers who resigned earlier this month. The collective walkout by followers of Iraq’s most influential Shiite politician threw Iraq into further uncertainty, deepening a months-long political crisis over government formation.

It was not clear whether the extraordinary session requested by 50 members of parliament during a recess would go through. A simple majority of the legislature’s 329 members is required for an electoral session, and Muqtada al-Sadr urged parliamentary blocs not to succumb to “pressures” from Iranian-backed factions.

Al-Sadr, a maverick politician with a large following, emerged as the biggest winner in general elections held in October, but has been unable to cobble together a coalition that can form a majority government.

He has been locked in a power struggle with internal Shiite rivals backed by Iran, preventing the formation of a new government.

Two weeks ago, he ordered lawmakers from his parliamentary bloc to resign in a bid to break the eight-month impasse. The........

© The Times of Israel

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