Politics & Economics

Iraq: Can The Protest Movement Create A Political Bloc?


Conversations are taking place in protest squares in Iraq about forming an independent political bloc comprising members of the protest movement.

One of the key demands made by the protest movement since it began in early October 2019 has been to form a government that is independent of the mainstream political parties and actors that have been the faces of Iraqi politics since 2003.

Thus far, this demand has not been met, with all candidates nominated for the position of prime minister, including the current designate, Mohammed Allawi, hailing from the established political elite.

Individuals among the demonstrators are beginning to seriously consider rallying support for political figures to rise from within the protest movement itself.

“We went to the provinces and suggested to them the idea of forming an organization within the squares, not a party organization. There was fear among the people after they lost confidence in parties and we found that the people were afraid of this bloc. Through our perseverance and persuasion of people to participate with us, we may see a substantial level of approval. We will create this bloc after adopting the election law that we want. We do not want this law (in its current state)”, expressed Salwan Adnan, a protester in Tahrir Square, Baghdad.

Protesters have mentioned that there are several hurdles in the way of ordinary political activists to find their way into the political system and to make their voices heard. Without party affiliation, politically-minded and active individuals have found it difficult to achieve their goals of political representation.

In the most recent developments regarding the protest movement in Iraq, demonstrators have opposed the appointment of Mohammed Allawi as prime minister-designate. This led to violent clashes between demonstrators and supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr, who has expressed his support for Allawi’s appointment. These clashes left seven people dead in Najaf.

Al-Sadr recently shifted his stance towards Allawi and threatened to overthrow his premiership if he were to form a government that did not include independent political figures.