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

Rival Iraqi Camps Vie for Independent MPs to Secure Quorum for Presidential Election

Rival Iraqi Camps Vie for Independent MPs to Secure Quorum for Presidential Election

Wednesday, 23 March, 2022 - 06:45
A general view of the Iraqi parliament in Baghdad, Iraq, January 9, 2022. (Reuters)

Sharp divisions are persisting in Iraq between the rival Shiite camp of the Sadrist movement, of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, and the pro-Iran Coordination Framework, ahead of Saturday's presidential elections.

The two camps have been appealing to independent and opposition MPs to join their side to secure the needed quorum at parliament to hold the vote.

Should the impasse remain, Iraq will be confronted with the difficult choice of dissolving the parliament, months after holding elections in October.

In the meantime, the Shiite camps have started to declare the number of MPs that will make up their bloc ahead of Saturday's vote. Both camps have included some of the same independent lawmakers, demonstrating the state of disarray and that their efforts have not actually yielded their desired results in spite of the incentives offered to the MPs to join their side.

As it stands, the Shiite camps, along with the Kurdish and Sunni forces, have not yet reached the necessary quorum to elect a new president. Two-thirds, or 220, of the 329-member parliament are needed to secure quorum.

The Sadrist alliance, which includes the Sunni Sovereign alliance and the Kurdish Democratic Party, has secured 146 MPs, while the Framework, which includes the Azm alliance and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, has secured 133. Neither side can claim the needed quorum, which has forced Sadr to call on independent MPs to join his side in the election.

Independent lawmakers may now hold the key to securing quorum, but they are divided between the rival camps, meaning that they too may not be able to ensure quorum is met.

An independent MP denied to Asharq Al-Awsat that they are being offered incentives, such as state positions, to join one of the rival camps.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said: "This is not true. We are not eyeing positions, but we want to have a say in political decision-making."

"We want to play a role in shaping the policy of the state," he went on to say.

Editor Picks