Iraq’s new parliamentary bloc nominates presidential, PM candidates

The Iraqi parliament has set March 26 as the date for a new parliament session to elect the President

Baghdad: A new parliamentary bloc led by Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s Sadrist Movement announced the nomination of Rebar Ahmed Khalid and Jaafar al-Sadr for the posts of President and Prime Minister, respectively.

The tripartite bloc Saving Homeland, which also includes Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the al-Siyada Alliance, seeks “the formation of a national majority government and pledges to complete the reform process through a clear and transparent government program without external interference”, Hassan al-Adhari, head of the Sadrist Parliamentary Bloc, told a press conference with the attendance of Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi.

Khalid is the incumbent minister of interior in Kurdistan, reports Xinhua news agency.

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Parliament had earlier announced him as a presidential candidate on behalf of the KDP. Al-Sadr currently serves as the Iraqi Ambassador to Britain.

The nascent coalition came amid a political row among Shiite parties, as Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s Sadrist Movement has vowed to form a new national majority from the winning parties in the elections, after his followers took the lead with 73 seats out of 329-seat Parliament in the elections held on Oct. 10, 2021.

But his pro-Iranian rivals want to form a consensus government to include all political blocs, as was the situation in the successive governments after 2003.

The Iraqi parliament has set March 26 as the date for a new parliament session to elect the President.

Some 40 candidates, including President Barham Salih, who represents the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, and Rizgar Mohammed Amin, former chief judge of the Iraqi Special Tribunal that organised the trial of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, would compete for the post.

The power-sharing system in Iraq after 2003 stipulates that the presidency should be reserved for the Kurds, the speaker’s post for the Sunnis, and the prime minister’s post for the Shiites.

Under the Iraqi constitution, lawmakers should elect a new President from the candidates by a two-thirds majority of the 329-seat Parliament, and the president is limited to serving two four-year terms.

Once elected, the new President will ask the largest parliamentary bloc to name a Prime Pinister-designate to form a government within 30 days.

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