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Iraq’s Zurfi Holds Informal Consultations to End Cabinet Stalemate

Iraq’s Zurfi Holds Informal Consultations to End Cabinet Stalemate

Thursday, 26 March, 2020 - 10:45
Iraqis in a market in Nassiriya on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 (AFP)
Baghdad – Hamza Mustafa

Official consultations on the formation of the new Iraqi government haven’t been launched yet, an Iraqi politician familiar with PM-designate Adnan al-Zurfi’s contacts has said.

The source affirmed, however, that Zurfi has been holding informal consultations to overcome objections to his designation.

Shiite blocs, mainly Fatah coalition, continue to reject his nomination, the source told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Fatah includes a number of Shiite blocs, most notably the State of Law coalition, led by former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, the Badr Organization of Hadi al-Amiri, and Asaib Ahl al-Haq, which is headed by Qais al-Khazali.

Ammar al-Hakim’s National Wisdom (al-Hikma) Movement also opposes the designation mechanism.

The source explained that Zurfi has spent the first 10 days of his designation in holding informal consultations with several political parties, in an attempt to open channels of dialogue through mediators with the parties that reject him as a candidate, and to reassure them.

Asked whether Zurfi is capable of resolving differences within Shiite blocs, the source affirmed that the PM-designate is making great efforts in light of widespread parliamentary approval of his nomination.

However, he doesn’t want to come up with a cabinet line-up before receiving the support of the blocs that have expressed reservations on his nomination, the source said.

He noted that Zurfi aims at forming a government capable of facing problems and challenges, such as the coronavirus outbreak, the financial crisis and early elections.

“He doesn’t want to form a government that creates new crises for the country.”

Shiite blocs are discussing difficult options, such as nominating a university president, and the nearly impossible option of searching for means to overthrow President Barham Salih, whom they hold responsible for the current deadlock.

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