Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Conflicting Reports Emerge on Naming of New Iraq PM

Conflicting Reports Emerge on Naming of New Iraq PM

Monday, 16 March, 2020 - 08:30
Iraqi university students carry posters of rejecting the appointment of Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi as PM-designate. (Reuters file photo)

Monday marks the end of the deadline set for appointing a new Iraqi prime minister to succeed Mohammed Allawi, the designated PM who withdrew his candidacy, and outgoing Premier Adel Abdul Mahdi.

Allawi withdrew on the last day of the constitutional duration because of a lack of quorum at parliament to vote on his proposed cabinet lineup.

Abdul Mahdi, meanwhile, said he would take “voluntary absence” and not carry out most official duties. He asked for a deputy prime minister or minister to chair cabinet meetings.

People close to him say his step was aimed at increasing the pressure to choose a successor.

Head of the Sanad parliamentary bloc Ahmed al-Asadi announced Sunday that the seven-member committee that represents the leaderships of the Shiite blocs has agreed after a series of meetings to choose a consensus figure to head the new government.

He did not disclose the candidate’s identity but indicated that “everyone will support him.”

His remarks raised eyebrows given the deep differences over naming a new premier.

Yet, sources from the political committee hinted that Naim al-Suhail is the agreed candidate, coming on top of dozens of others vying for the post.

An informed political source told Asharq Al-Awsat that the committee has discussed the candidacy of 31 figures and narrowed them down to four: MP Mohammad Shiya al-Sudani, the former Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, Ali al-Shukri, the senior adviser to the president, former Minister of Planning Lukman Faily and Naim al-Suhail.

He pointed out that in case they fail to agree on a figure, the names of the 31 candidates are most likely to be submitted to the leadership body of the Shiite alliance.

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