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article imageOp-Ed: Iraq announces Intelligence Chief as new Prime Minister-designate

By Ken Hanly     Apr 12, 2020 in Politics
Iraq is continuing to struggle to find a Prime Minister (PM) designate that is acceptable to competing parties ever since the resignation of Adel Mahdi in December.
President Salih has now named Intelligence Chief Mutafa al-Khadimi as the latest PM-designate who will be charged with forming a new government.
Two earlier PM-designates have failed to form a government
In the past ten weeks both Mohammed Allawi and Adrian Zurfi were successively PM-designates. Zurfi was a pro-US candidate and Iran said he was unacceptable. Zurfi was relatively gracious in accepting his failure and said on his Facebook page: "The failure to form a new government was the cause of domestic and foreign issues. But that will not prevent me from continuing to serve the people through my current parliamentary position. I will continue to work and prepare for early elections in order to complete our national project."
While it may be difficult to find someone acceptable to most parties the new candidate has a good chance.
Iran congratulates Khadimi
After Iran congratulated Khadimi, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi was reported by Xinhua as saying: "The Islamic Republic has invariably supported independence, national sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political stability in Iraq, and considers formation of consensus among all of its political movements through democratic pathways to be the only peaceful solution for all differences." Mousavi also said that Iran considered the appointment of Khadimi as a step in the right direction,
It seems that Khadimi clearly has the support of Iran.
However, Khadimi also has support from the US as a recent article claims: "Al-Kadhimi... has long had close links with the United States, but political sources said he has also improved ties with Iran in recent months" So Khadimi has the support of at least two key players.
Within thirty days Khadimi must submit to the 329 member Iraqi parliament his cabinet lineup and receive a vote of confidence for it. The PM's job would be quite temporary in that the new government would be charged with readying election laws for a new vote. Yet so far even getting agreement on the PM has been an uphill battle.
Political situation is unstable
The drop in the price of oil and the difficulties of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the political situation. There are large protests against the government that include charges of corruption. The parliamentarians seem determined to force their own allies into positions of authority without considering the wishes of those opposed. Perhaps Khadimi will be able to achieve a consensus in favor of his cabinet but it will be an uphill battle.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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