The UN envoy to Iraq on Tuesday urged Iraqi politicians to end a deadlock which has kept parliament from forming a new government for more than seven months, warning that the crisis could spark civil unrest.
“The streets are about to boil over in Iraq,” Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert told reporters. “We cannot afford to go back to a situation that we observed in October 2018,” when deadly street protests shook the country.
Addressing the UN Security Council earlier in the day, Hennis-Plasschaert stressed “the importance of overcoming the political stalemate” which has affected Iraq since the end of last year and which, she said, is hurting the population.
“Significant domestic vulnerabilities are being compounded by the ongoing effects of the pandemic and global geopolitical tensions,” she said.
“A sincere, collective and urgent will to resolve political differences must now prevail for the country to move forward and to meet the needs of its citizens,” she added.
More than seven months after legislative elections, Iraqi institutions are at a standstill over lawmakers’ inability to elect a president. It is the president’s job to select the largest block in parliament to form a government.
In the interim, the outgoing President, Barham Saleh, who had run for re-election, and Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi have been taking care of the day-to-running of the country.