So when a cleric imposes his views on the people and it's later discovered that he was dead wrong, that would have a big negative effect on the attitude of the people toward that cleric and I think Sistani has begun to realize that the poor performance and mistakes of his blessed slate were not welcomed by the people.
I think that those who used his name gave him some guarantees and promises that they would make a bright example for others but unfortunately that didn't happen and the south where the Sheat majority resides was the first place to get affected by the questionable policies of the government and its main partisan components and the south became a field for battles over influence and power between parties of the same block who forgot about the needs and demands of the people as well as about the promises they made to promote their electoral campaign.
Sistani was not satisfied with what's been happening and he pointed that out more than once in previous occasions and probably it was the latest demonstrations and unrest that took place in some southern cities as well as the scandals coming out from the cities' councils that made Sistani feel the he'd better not support any particular party or slate again and the increasing complaints coming from various parties about his role in affecting the outcome of the January elections have contributed to the latest change in his attitude.
Anyway, I think this is a positive step by Sistani as it would discourage smaller clerics from repeating what he did last January.
So, today came the news that Sistani prohibited the use of his name or that of the clergy in electoral campaigns and he stressed that the clergy must not be used as a promotion tool for any particular party:
The religious references will back all the candidates and will be standing with the 26 million Iraqis and not with those who want to mix their personal issues with those of the references…
The religious references are dedicated to religious issues and to issuing fatwas and advices that unite the sons of the same society…
Quote appeared on Al-Mada paper.
Sistani also (and according to several sources) called for protecting the rights of the Sunni population whom he described as a vital component of the new Iraq.
The Ayatollah also spoke about the constitution and said that the people's opinion about the constitution must be respected and he limited the clergy's role to:
Blessing the constitution that doesn't discriminate between the different sects and ethnic groups of the Iraqi people while other clauses of the constitution should be up to the people to approve or reject…
Well…a welcomed change I guess.