Iraq parliament speaker voices support for PM-designate

By Ibrahim Saleh

BAGHDAD (AA) – Iraqi Parliament Speaker Mohamed al-Halbulsi has expressed support for Prime Minister-designate Adil Abdul-Mahdi, who is currently in the process of drawing up a new government.

Al-Halbusi voiced his support for the PM-designate at a press conference in Baghdad in which he also stressed the necessity of expediting the government-formation process.

Last week, newly-elected President Barham Salih instructed Abdul-Mahdi — an independent Shia politician — to form a new government after the latter was appointed to the premiership.

Under the terms of Iraq’s constitution, the acting prime minister has 30 days in which to draw up a cabinet lineup, which must then be presented to parliament for approval.

"The acting prime minister is not facing any pressure or compulsion in his selection of cabinet ministers," al-Halbusi said at the press conference.

The choice of Abdul-Mahdi for the premiership was agreed upon by Iraq’s leading political powers, including the Sairoon coalition (led by Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr), which came in first in Iraq’s May 12 parliamentary poll.

Following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq, the Coalition Provisional Authority (Iraq’s U.S.-run post-invasion interim government) instituted a political system based on sectarian “quotas”.

Ostensibly aimed at fairly distributing important political positions between Iraq’s main ethno-religious segments, the system reserves the post of president for a Kurd; that of prime minister for a Shia Muslim; and that of parliamentary speaker for a Sunni Muslim.

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