Lawmakers from the Sadrist bloc in Iraq's parliament resigned on Sunday after their leader, powerful Shia Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, asked them to step down amid a prolonged stalemate over forming a government.
Sadr's party was the biggest winner in an October general election, increasing the number of seats it holds in parliament to 73. But political disagreement among parties have hindered the parliament from electing a president and forming a government.
Sadr, a populist who has positioned himself as a staunch opponent of both Iran and the US, said in a handwritten statement that his request to lawmakers to resign was “a sacrifice from me for the country and the people to rid them of the unknown destiny”.
Soon after, the parliamentary speaker accepted the resignations.
In a video shown on Iraq's state news agency INA, Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi was seen signing the lawmakers' resignations.