Iraq’s Sistani Calls for Fresh Faces to Run for Premiership

Iraq’s Sistani Calls for Fresh Faces to Run for Premiership

Tuesday, 11 September, 2018 - 05:45
Iraq’s supreme religious authority Ali al-Sistani calls for fresh faces to run for prime minister. (AFP)
Baghdad – Hamza Mustafa
As the deadline looms for the Iraqi parliamentary blocs to submit their candidate for the position of prime minister, supreme Shiite authority in al-Najaf, Ali al-Sistani, implied that he supports the nomination of fresh faces for the post.

Media affiliated to Sistani denied lawmaker claims that he had named a number of candidates for the position. The nomination is within the jurisdiction of the largest parliamentary bloc.

They added that he had not vetoed any potential candidate, but he will oppose a candidate who is from the political class that has run the country during the past few years because the people have lost their faith in them.

On Monday, MP Sabah al-Saaedi, of the Sairoun alliance of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, revealed that he had received information that Sistani had vetoed the nomination of five candidates. They are former PM Nouri al-Maliki, current PM Haidar al-Abadi, Hadi al-Ameri, Faleh al-Fayyad and Tareq Najm.

Commenting on the Sistani’s stance, Shiite cleric Farhan al-Saaedi told Asharq Al-Awsat: “The supreme religious authority has long left it up to the people to decide their fate.”

“Abadi’s term witnessed successes on the ground, which is important for the people. The people also, however, demand basic services, such as water and electricity. They will grow frustrated if their demands are not met, especially since there are no radical solutions for the crises,” he continued.

This is what the supreme religious authority wants to explain to the people: their choices determine their fate, he added.

Badr organization member Karim al-Nouri told Asharq Al-Awsat that based on Sistani’s criteria, the majority of politicians are not qualified for the position of prime minister.

Sistani had stipulated during one of his recent sermons that the candidate should be “firm, brave and strong,” he added.

“Based on these qualifications, then we believe that Hadi al-Ameri still has the greatest chance of becoming premier given his parliamentary work and his fight against ISIS for three years,” he added.

He also cited his success when he served as minister of transportation.

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