Iraq parliament stops working to choose brand-new state president over absence of quorum By Reuters

© Reuters. SUBMIT PICTURE: Iraqi Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr speaks throughout a press conference in Najaf, Iraq, November 18, 2021 REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

By Ahmed Rasheed and Amina Ismail

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraq’s parliament stopped working once again on Saturday to choose a president after Iran-backed groups boycotted the session, in an obstacle to an alliance led by cleric Moqtada al-Sadr which won the election and threatened to eliminate them from politics.

Sadr had actually hoped parliament would choose Rebar Ahmed, a veteran Kurdish intelligence authorities and present interior minister of Iraq’s self-governing Kurdistan area.

But just 202 members of parliament out of 329 existed, which is less than the required two-thirds quorum required to select a brand-new president for the primarily ritualistic post, while 126 legislators boycotted the session.

“It is a storm in a cup. Today is a good proof that the party that had claimed that it has the majority had failed to achieve it. It is a bad situation getting worse” stated Farhad Alaaldin, chairman of the Iraq Advisory Council, a policy research study institute.

A win for Sadr’s allies would threaten to omit Tehran’s allies from power for the very first time in years.

The hold-up lengthens a bitter deadlock in Iraqi politics months after an October basic election from which Sadr emerged the most significant winner, with his Shi’ite, pro-Iran competitors getting a hammering at the surveys.

    The vote on the president was held off to Wednesday. The present caretaker federal government will continue to run the nation up until a brand-new federal government is formed.

    Sadr, a Shi’ite cleric, has actually vowed to form a federal government that would omit crucial Iranian allies that have long controlled the state, a red line for those celebrations and militias and the very first time they would not have a cabinet location considering that 2003.

    The prospects advanced for president in the months considering that the election have actually been seen by Iran-lined up groups as Western-leaning and a risk to their interests.

    An effort to protect the post for Kurdish political leader Hoshyar Zebari, a previous foreign minister, stopped working when Iraq’s Supreme Court last month prohibited his candidateship of over declared corruption charges that had actually resurfaced. Zebari, who was backed by Sadr and allies of Sadr, rejects the charges.


    Under a power-sharing system developed to prevent sectarian dispute, Iraq’s president is a Kurd, its prime minister a Shi’ite and its parliament speaker a Sunni.

    Since the U.S.-led intrusion of 2003 that fell Sunni totalitarian Saddam Hussein, the choice of a president and prime minister after each election has actually been a long, sluggish procedure hindered by political deadlock.

    Iran-lined up groups have actually typically had their method, utilizing their function in beating Islamic State in 2017 to catapult leaders into parliamentary seats in an election the list below year.

    Sadr opposes all foreign impact in Iraq, consisting of by the United States and Iran. He has actually increased his political power over the last few years however should still compete with his Shi’ite competitors.

    Sadr has actually sworn to press through what he calls a “national majority” federal government, a euphemism for one that leaves out pro-Iran groups. Those groups maintain heavily-armed and effective militias and preserve a grip over numerous state organizations.

    Sadr’s Sadrist Bloc has actually signed up with forces with the Kurdish Democratic Party and a Sunni Muslim alliance in efforts to form a parliamentary bulk.

    Most Iraqis see all groups associated with governing the nation as corrupt. Anger has actually simmered for many years at the Shi’ite-controlled political class that emerged after the 2003 intrusion.

    That anger burst into mass presentations in 2019, in which federal government security forces and Iran-lined up militiamen shot dead numerous demonstrators.

    Officials and experts fear Sadr’s magnifying face-off with the Iran-lined up groups might come down into violence.


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