| 25 May 2024, Saturday |

Iraq MPs to vote for president on March 26

The Iraqi parliament set a session for lawmakers on March 26 to hold a postponed vote on the country’s president.

A final list of 40 contenders for the job, which is primarily ceremonial and reserved for Kurds, was also released by Parliament.

Barham Saleh, the incumbent and a member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, and Rebar Ahmed, a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, are among the frontrunners.

Because the president must select a prime minister backed by the largest group in parliament, the contest has been delayed due to a lack of quorum and legal concerns, adding to Iraq’s political uncertainty.

After a complaint was filed against him over years-old corruption charges, the supreme court ruled on February 13 that senior politician Hoshyar Zebari, who was sponsored by the KDP, could not run.

Iraqi politics was further thrown into disarray following the general elections in October 2021, which were marked by a record-low turnout, post-election threats and violence, and a months-long wait for final results confirmation.

Since then, intense discussions among political factions have failed to produce a majority parliamentary coalition to replace Mustafa al-Kadhemi as Prime Minister.

Zebari was backed for the presidency by the strongest political bloc, led by fiery Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr.

Iranian missile assaults on Erbil, the capital of an autonomous Kurdish enclave in northern Iraq, heightened tensions on Sunday.

Tehran said the bombing was aimed for Israeli targets, while Kurdish officials denied any such involvement.

  • AFP