Adel Abdul Mahdi, Iraq’s new prime minister, has received additional support from the Shiite religious authority in Najaf, a move that further cemented his power for this critical stage.
Senior cleric Bashir al-Najafi, who is as important and credentialed as Iraq’s top clerics Ali al-Sistani, Muhammad Saeed al-Hakim and Muhammad al-Fayadh, received on Tuesday Interior Minister Qasim al-Araji.
After the meeting, Najafi’s bureau issued a statement urging officials of the new cabinet to seek ending the suffering of citizens, and strive seriously to solve public service problems.
He also confirmed his support for the new government “serving Iraq and Iraqis only.”
Najafi’s position seems to imply support, even if implicitly, for Abdul Mahdi, a well-informed political source told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Abdul Mahdi has opened doors wide to all Iraqis who wish to occupy ministerial positions in the upcoming cabinet, inviting them to submit their resumes online before the deadline passes.
“Anyone who finds themselves competent in terms of experience, proficiency and practical experience and wants to run for ministerial office can do so via the official website, so long they present required documents by Thursday at most,” Abdul Mahdi said in an official statement.
“Iraqi political elites are usually partisan and do not come from a civil society. This is due to the former regime’s policy of oppressing and isolating opponents and unilaterally forming government bodies,” Iraqi academic Hisham al-Hashemi told Asharq Al-Awsat.
“It is difficult to set free from current political frameworks established by elites who monopolized cabinet formation. Each party has a government program it wants to achieve and that it serves its popular base, and then attends to all Iraqis’ needs,” Hashemi added.
He explained that partisans will always prioritize their nominee and rally base over collective national interest.