Saturday's parliament session turned into 'selling and buying market': Iraqi MP

“Iraq was sold… there is no free vote, only shame and disgrace.”

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SULAIMANI – An Iraqi lawmaker, Majeda al-Tamimi, said on Sunday (September 16) that the country’s parliament turned into “a buying and selling market” during the session to elect the speaker and his deputies.

Tamimi, whose Al-Ahrar Bloc is part of the National Iraqi Alliance, alleged that “the blood of the Iraqi people was sold” in bribes and referred to the “sale” of lawmakers’ votes.

She said that the process of voting for the parliament's leadership took place in the following way: "When they called the name of an MP, the MP would go and take the ballot paper and then go directly to the governor of Saladin [province] and current MP, Ahmed al-Jubouri (Abu Mazen), to see who [they] should select. They would then take a picture of the ballot paper as proof of their choice and then cast the ballot paper."

According to Tamimi, most of the deputies were not allowed to go to the ballot box alone without going through Abu Mazen, who she referred to as the "godfather of the deal," to see how they should vote.

Tamimi said that Ahmed al-Jabouri introduced himself as a “buyer,” after she conveyed her doubts about the reliability of the voting process.

She also said that another female lawmaker, with whom she had a conversation, compared the voting process in the Iraqi Parliament to the election of Filipino Prime Minister Rodrigo Duterte.

“The Philippines elected a drug trafficker as its Prime Minister. There is no obstacle [to us choosing] a similar person,” Tamimi said, without mentioning her colleagues name or giving further details.

“Iraq was sold… there is no free vote, only shame and disgrace.”

Earlier on Saturday, MP Khalid al-Obeidi alleged that the newly-elected speaker of parliament, Mohammed al-Halbousi, has paid millions of dollars for his position.

Obeidi, whose Bayariq al-Khair party is part of the Nasr Coalition, said Halbousi has won the position by paying $30 million USD in bribes.

Obeidi came in second to Halbousi in the vote for speaker.