The top Shia of Iraq cleric approved on Sunday for making early parliamentary elections fixed for June 2021, after its first gathering in almost a year with a senior United Nations official.
Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, 90 years old, said in an online statement after the bilateral assembly: The parliamentary elections scheduled for next year are of great importance. He also added: Iraqis should be encouraged to participate widely, whereas he alerted that failing to hold the polls on time or in a free and fair way would threaten the unity and future of Iraq’s people.
In fact, Al-Sistani doesn’t appear publicly and typically publishes a weekly Friday sermon via a representative. Actually, he avoids meeting political figures however he has traditionally made an exception for the UN, which is looked at as unbiased.
Furthermore, Al-Sistani has been quieter this year not like usual, as weekly prayers stopped in late February with the appearance of the coronavirus pandemic which also incites fears for the health of al-Sistani.
It should be noted that al-Sistani hosted on Sunday the top representative of the UN in Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, in his modest home in the shrine city of Najaf, 10 months since their last gathering. Hennis-Plasschaert said, referring to early elections: If done in the right way, in the right and credible way, they could open an important chapter for the country.
Otherwise, Prime Minister, Mustafa al-Kadhemi had declared in late July that Iraq would effectuate parliamentary elections almost a year early, attempting to make good on one of the principal promises that he made when he came to power earlier this year.
Indeed, Al-Sistani agreed on the early elections since last year, when anti-government manifestations happened unprecedently in Baghdad and the Shia-majority cities of the south. He also has strongly criticized the current fragmented parliament that was elected in May 2018.