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Iraq parliament fails to elect new president

February 7, 2022

Lawmakers boycotted the vote after the Supreme Court halted the bid by Kurdish politician Hoshyar Zebari. Iraq needs a president before it can form a government.

Former Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari
Hoshyar Zebari has been is considered a frontrunner in the Iraqi presidential raceImage: Khalil Dawood/Xinhua/Zuma/picture alliance

Iraqi lawmakers failed to elect a new president on Monday, prolonging a political standoff.

A vote for the head of state could not happen as parliament lacked a quorum to hold a session. Only 58 legislators out of 329 turned up for the vote.

Many lawmakers said they boycotted the proceedings after the Supreme Court suspended former foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari's presidential bid over graft allegations.

The former minister was considered a frontrunner along with incumbent Barham Salih.

President needed to elect Iraqi prime minister

The delay is a blow to cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, the biggest winner of last October's election. The populist cleric had vowed to form a government quickly.

Sadr, the Kurdish Democratic Party, and an alliance of Sunni Muslim lawmakers had supported Zebari's bid for president.

"The majority of the political parties boycotted today's session due to the lack of a political agreement over the president post," Sunni lawmaker Mishaan Jabouri told the Reuters news agency.

"Parliament will not convene until an agreement is in place."

The new president would be expected to ask the largest parliamentary bloc to form a new government.

Parliament Speaker, Mohammed al-Halbousi, has not scheduled a new date for a vote.

lo/dj (AFP, AP, Reuters)