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Iraqi parliament indefinitely adjourns president election

Category: Iraq News

Date: 2022-02-07T12:50:39+0000
Iraqi parliament indefinitely adjourns president election

Shafaq News/ Iraq's legislative body on Monday indefinitely postponed a scheduled vote for the republic's president after most major political blocs boycotted the session.

The sweeping no-show deepens a political crisis in the war-scarred country which, almost four months after a general election, still has not chosen a new prime minister.

The assembly vote had been set for noon for the head of state -- a post with a four-year mandate held by convention by a member of Iraq's Kurdish minority, and currently occupied by Barham Saleh.

But a series of boycott calls had made it highly unlikely the 329-seat parliament in Baghdad's high-security Green Zone would be able to clinch the necessary two-thirds quorum.

Then, on Monday afternoon, with only 58 MPs, a source told Shafaq News Agency that "there will be no vote to elect the president".

The turmoil comes after October polls were marred by record-low turnout, post-election threats and violence, and a delay of several months until final results were confirmed.

Intense negotiations among political groups since then have failed to form a majority parliamentary coalition to name a new prime minister to succeed Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

The largest parliamentary bloc to emerge from the vote, led by powerful Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and holding 73 seats, was first to announce a boycott, on Saturday.

It was followed on Sunday by the 51-member al-Siyada (Sovereignty) Coalition. The 31-seat Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) then announced it would also stay away, in order to "continue consultations and dialogue between political blocs".

The Coordination Framework, a consortium of Iraqi Shiite political forces opposing the October 10 election results, also said the session should not take place, citing the recent political turmoil.

The process toward a presidential vote had been further plunged into disarray when Iraq's Supreme Court on Sunday suspended the candidacy of Saleh's key challenger, Hoshyar Zebari, 68.

The court cited corruption charges against Zebari, a former foreign minister from the KDP; allegations he denies.

Incumbent Salih, the other frontrunner out of some 25 candidates, represents the KDP's main rival in the Kurdistan Region, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).

Monday's postponement exacerbates Iraq's political troubles because it is the task of the president, within 15 days of being elected, to formally name a prime minister from the largest bloc in parliament.

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