Iraq’s al-Sadr and his political rival al-Amiri join forces to oust PM

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Iraq’s shia political leader Hadi al-Amiri said on Tuesday that he would work with Populist Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on achieving the interests of the people and saving the country, state media reported.

Earlier Tuesday, al-Sadr had invited his biggest political rival, al-Amiri to work with him on ousting the country’s prime minister as thousands of anti-government protesters took to the streets for a fifth day.

In a statement on Tuesday al-Sadr, who leads parliament’s largest bloc, asked al-Amiri, leader of the second-largest, to help him introduce a vote of no confidence on Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi.

Al-Sadr had on Monday asked Abdul Mahdi to announce early elections but the premier said on Tuesday he would not do so as it was up to parliament, not him, to do so.

In a statement addressed to Sadr earlier on Tuesday, Abdul Mahdi said that if the solution for Iraq’s ongoing crisis was his ouster, it would be easier and quicker for al-Sadr and al-Amiri to withdraw confidence and have a new government take over.

Abdul Mahdi came to power just a year ago after weeks of political deadlock as a compromise candidate between al-Sadr, who leads a populist alliance made up of his followers, communists, and other parties, and al-Amiri, the head of an alliance of Iran-backed Shia militia leaders.

Mass protests driven by discontent over economic hardship and corruption have broken nearly two years of relative stability in Iraq.

At least 250 people have been killed since the unrest started on October 1.

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