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Lawmakers from Iraq’s biggest bloc resign.

Lawmakers from Iraq’s biggest bloc resign.

Lawmakers who make up the biggest bloc in Iraq’s parliament resigned on Sunday amid a prolonged political impasse, plunging the divided nation into political uncertainty.

The 73 lawmakers from powerful Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s bloc submitted their resignation based on his request, to protest a persisting political deadlock eight months after general elections were held.

Parliament Speaker Mohammed Halbousi accepted their resignation.It was not immediately clear how the resignation of the biggest bloc in parliament would play out. A veteran Iraqi politician expressed concern that the resignations could lead to chaos in the country.

According to Iraqi laws, if any seat in parliament becomes vacant, the candidate who obtains the second highest number votes in their electoral district would replace them.

This would benefit Mr. Al-Sadr’s opponents from the so-called Coordination Framework, a coalition led by Iran-backed Shiite parties, and their allies – something Mr. Al-Sadr would be unlikely to accept.

There are already concerns that the stalemate and tension could boil over and lead to street protests by supporters of Mr. Al-Sadr, turning into violence between them and rival armed Shiite militias.

Mr. Al-Sadr, one of Iraq’s most influential political leaders with a large following, has repeatedly alluded to the capabilities of his militia, Saraya Salam, which recently opened the doors for recruits in Babylon and Diyala provinces.

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