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Parties close to agreement on candidate for new Iraqi prime minister: source

Sadr appears opposed
A general view of Tahrir Square in Baghdad (File)
2019-12-14

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SULAIMANI — Most of the Iraqi parties have agreed to nominate Mohammed Shiaa al-Sudani as a candidate for prime minister, a source said on Saturday (December 14).

A political source told NRT Digital Media that 80 percent of the parties had agreed to nominate Sudani, but that significant hurdles remain before consensus can be reached.

“Moqtada al-Sadr is the only one who does not agree with Sudani for the position,” the source said, who spoke under the condition of anonymity.

Sadr's Sairoon Alliance is the largest party in Iraq's fractured legislature, holding 54 seats.

Iraqi President Barham Salih could issue a decree officially tasking Sudani with forming a government as early as Monday, which is in fact the deadline for him to do so under the constitution.

Sudani announced earlier that he is not a candidate of any particular political party and has resigned as a member of the Islamic Dawa Party and the State of Law Coalition.

Meanwhile, Iraqi protesters released a statement calling on Salih to reject any candidate proposed by the political parties.

The Council of Representatives approved a letter of resignation from Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi on December 1, after he submitted it to the parliament a day earlier.

He decided to resign after the country’s top Shia Muslim cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani urged lawmakers to reconsider their support for a government rocked by weeks of deadly anti-establishment unrest.

Protesters took to the streets at the beginning of October to demand an end to corruption, better public services, and employment, but since then the unrest has become a more general uprising seeking the ouster of the Iraq's political establishment.

More than 400 people have been killed in Baghdad and provinces in the south. Thousands have been injured in the unrest as the government and “third party groups” have used live ammunition, snipers, and tear gas in an attempt put down the protests.

(NRT Digital Media)