Iraqi cleric Sadr calls for early election: statement

FILE PHOTO: Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who's bloc came first, meets with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who's political bloc came third in a May parliamentary election, in Najaf, Iraq June 23, 2018. REUTERS/Alaa al-Marjani/File Photo

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Populist Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Monday called on Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi to announce early parliamentary elections overseen by the United Nations and without the participation of existing political parties.

Sadr’s bloc, which came first in a 2018 election and helped bring Abdul Mahdi’s fragile coalition government to power, said on Saturday it was going into opposition until the demands of anti-government protesters were met

Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein; Editing by David Clarke