Iraq’s parliament fails to vote on new president

The session was indefinitely postponed due to a lack of the required two-thirds quorum of the 329-seat Parliament, and turned into a meeting to address various topics

Baghdad: Iraq’s Parliament has failed to hold a session to vote on a new President due to a lack of quorum and disputes among political blocs.

A source from Parliament’s media office told Xinhua news agency that the session was indefinitely postponed due to a lack of the required two-thirds quorum of the 329-seat Parliament, and turned into a meeting to address various topics.

“We didn’t attend today’s (Monday) session because our candidate Hoshyar Zebari was suspended due to a decision by the Federal Supreme Court, and no one can obtain the quorum unless we are present,” Mishaan al-Jubouri, a lawmaker from the Sunni al-Siyada Alliance, told Xinhua.

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Zebari was the candidate of the Sadrist Movement, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), and al-Siyada Alliance to run for presidential election.

On Sunday, the federal court decided to suspend the nomination of Zebari as a candidate for the presidency until a corruption lawsuit against him would be resolved.

Later, the KDP, headed by the Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani, and the al-Siyada Alliance, headed by Sunni businessman Khamis al-Khanjar, decided to boycott Monday’s parliament session to pave the way for further negotiations between the political blocs.

On February 5, the Sadrist Movement, loyal to Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, which won 73 seats out of 329 seats, also decided to boycott Monday’s session.

On January 31, Parliament announced the names of 25 candidates for the presidential election scheduled for February 7, including incumbent President Barham Salih who represents the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, former Foreign Minister and Finance Minister Zebari from the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), and Rizgar Mohammed Amin, former chief judge of the Iraqi Special Tribunal that organized the trial of late leader Saddam Hussein.

According to the Iraqi constitution, lawmakers should elect a new Iraqi president from the candidates by a two-thirds majority of its members, and the president will be limited to serving two four-year terms.

Once elected, the new president will ask the largest parliamentary alliance to name a prime minister-designate to form a government within 30 days.

On October 10, 2021, Iraq held the fifth parliamentary election, where al-Sadr’s Sadrist Movement emerged as the biggest winner with 73 out of the 329 seats.

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