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Friday, February 03 2023

Iraq’s Parliament postpones vote on new President to March 30

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Baghdad: Iraq’s Parliament has decided to postpone the vote on a new President to March 30 after failing to reach a quorum due to political disputes among parliamentary political blocs, a state-run TV channel has reported.

Iraq’s parliament held a session on Saturday afternoon with the attendance of 202 lawmakers out of the 329-seat Parliament, and the voting on a new President had to be postponed due to a lack of the required two-thirds quorum of the parliament, according to the Iraqiya channel.

After a short session, the Parliament adjourned its regular session until March 28, while the vote on a new President until March 30 to give the political blocs enough time to negotiate the differences of the political process, Xinhua news agency reported.

Earlier, the Iraqi Parliament 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 postponement came amid a political row among Shiite parties. 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 October 10, 2021. Al-Sadr’s pro-Iranian rivals, however, want to form a consensus government to include all political blocs, as was the situation in the successive governments after 2003.

Under the Iraqi constitution, lawmakers should elect a new Iraqi 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 Minister-designate to form a government within 30 days.

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