Salih Resumes Consultations on Iraqi Government Formation
Iraqi President Barham Salih has resumed consultations on the formation of a new government after returning from his visit to Davos and the Vatican.
Salih met with head of the National Wisdom Movement Ammar al-Hakim, the presidency said on Sunday.
According to the statement, both figures discussed the latest security and political developments in Iraq and emphasized the necessity of accelerating the formation of the new cabinet.
Iraq’s parliament voted in December to accept the resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi after weeks of violent anti-government protests that have rocked the country.
Salih and Hakim said Sunday a swift cabinet formation would contribute to achieving the aspirations of the Iraqi people and meeting their legitimate demands for reforms.
“Iraq’s sovereignty, stability and security shall be preserved by all parties,” they stressed, while calling for distancing the country from regional and international conflicts.
Salih is expected to inform Abdul Mahdi and Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi about the results of his visit, especially his controversial meeting with US President Donald Trump in Davos.
Political parties and armed factions reject the US presence in Iraq and have threatened to expel Salih upon his return if he meets Trump.
Salih has continuously reiterated the importance of preserving Iraq’s sovereignty, especially after the unprecedented support he received from Sadrist Movement leader Muqtada al-Sadr, who rushed to defend him despite his meeting with Trump.
The controversy on the US military presence in Iraq comes as the government formation enters a critical stage.
“An influential political alliance is planning to nominate a weak and unacceptable figure (for the premiership) so that his government does not win parliament's vote of confidence,” tweeted former Deputy Prime Minister Bahaa al-Araji.
Head of the Bayariq al-Khair parliamentary bloc Mohammad al-Khalidi warned of Salih coming under pressure over his procrastination on naming a new PM
“There’s pressure not to accept Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi for the premiership because he did not yield to the dictates of political blocs,” Khalidi told Asharq Al-Awsat.
He stressed that demonstrators also want Allawi to win the post.