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Iraq's Sistani Urges Elections to End Crisis

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Iraq's top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani called Friday for early elections to end the months of political paralysis that have gripped the protest-hit country, Asharq Al-Awsat reported.

"The quickest and most peaceful way out of the current crisis and to avoid plunging into the unknown, chaos or internal strife ... is to rely on the people by holding early elections," said a representative of Sistani, who never appears in public.

The revered 89-year-old cleric urged lawmakers to "form a new government as soon as possible" which should then speedily pave the way for new, free and fair elections, according to his representative, Abdel Mahdi al-Karbalai.
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