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Uncertainty over Iraq Confidence Vote amid Virus Outbreak

Uncertainty over Iraq Confidence Vote amid Virus Outbreak

Monday, 30 March, 2020 - 08:45
Workers in protective suits spray disinfectants near the gate of Shalamcha Border Crossing, after Iraq shut a border crossing to travelers between Iraq and Iran, Iraq March 8, 2020. REUTERS/Essam al-Sudani
Baghdad - Hamza Mustafa

The coronavirus outbreak in Iraq has led to uncertainty over the parliament’s ability to hold a session and vote on the new government next month.

Prime Minister-designate Adnan al- Zurfi’s constitutional deadline to form his government ends on April 16, four days after the imposed curfew in Iraq expires.

However, statements made by Health Minister Jaafar Sadiq Allawi, who heads the Iraqi crisis committee to contain the COVID-19 disease, on the possibility of extending the curfew mean that the parliament cannot hold its scheduled session.

Legal expert Ahmed al-Abadi told Asharq Al-Awsat that the curfew doesn’t affect the constitutional deadline, since nothing hinders the PM-designate or the political parties from holding consultations on the government formation.

Abadi stressed that no article in the constitution indicates measures or emergency plans to be implemented in such case.

He explained that if the designated figure completes his government formation, but the parliament fails to hold its session as scheduled due to the coronavirus outbreak, no constitutional measure shall be taken against Zurfi.

National Coalition MP Kazem al-Shammari told Asharq Al-Awsat that the bloc doesn’t object Zurfi’s designation in principle but has expressed some reservations and made some demands.

Shammari stressed the formation of a court to bring into trial those involved in the killing of demonstrators, and requested a clear position on the armed factions that are not part of the Popular Mobilization Forces.

He also raised questions on Zurfi’s position from the security agreement and calls for coalition forces to leave Iraqi territories.

Kurdish and Sunni blocs, however, are still waiting for Shiite blocs to reach a consensual agreement on Zurfi before announcing their final stance from his nomination as PM-designate.

Iraqi Forces Alliance MP Mohammed al-Karbouli told Asharq Al-Awsat that Sunnis will back Zurfi once he persuades at least half of the Shiite blocs to support him.

The positions of the two main Kurdish parties remain unclear pending the announcement of the majority of Shiite blocs’ final stance.

However, they maintained the standards for preserving the Kurdistan region’s rights, implementing the agreements concluded between the federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government, and being represented in the new cabinet.

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