BAGHDAD (AP) – Iraq’s top judicial body said yesterday it does not have the authority to dissolve the country’s Parliament, days after an influential cleric gave it one week to dismiss the legislature so that new elections can be held.
The decision by the Supreme Judicial Council is likely to increase tensions between followers of cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and members of Iran-backed groups as Iraq sinks deeper into its political impasse, now in its 10th month.
The impasse is the longest in the country since the 2003 United States (US)-led invasion reset the political order.
The Supreme Judicial Council said in a statement after a meeting yesterday that political groups in the country should not get the judiciary involved in their “rivalries and political competition”.
Al-Sadr, whose supporters earlier this month stormed the Parliament in Baghdad and have since held a sit-in outside the building, tweeted last Wednesday that the judiciary has one week to dissolve the legislature. Al-Sadr has previously demanded that the parliament be dissolved and that early elections be held but this time he set a deadline.