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Iraqi parliament sets date to pick president

The Iraqi parliament is set to meet Thursday to select the president and from there, form a new government.
AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP via Getty Images

Iraqi Parliament Speaker Muhammad Halbousi announced today that the parliament will discuss the selection of the president on Oct. 13.

A year after the elections, Iraqi political parties have not been able to form a government.

On the anniversary of last year's elections, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi called upon “all political parties to engage in constructive dialogue to resolve the current political crisis through comprehensive national solutions that strengthen our young democracy and support the pillars of stability and prosperity for Iraq and our great people.”

The US State Department also called upon all parties “to peacefully and inclusively resolve their political differences," saying, "The United States supports a broad and inclusive dialogue to forge a common path forward.”

The United Nations Mission in Iraq issued a statement calling last year's vote “a hard-earned election brought about by public pressure from nationwide protests in which several hundreds of young Iraqis lost their lives and thousands were injured.”

“Today, Iraq is running out of time," the UN statement reads. “The protracted crisis is breeding further instability and recent events are a testament to that. In addition, it threatens people’s livelihoods. The adoption of a budget for 2023 before the end of the year is imperative.”

The UN statement emphasized, “All actors must engage in dialogue without preconditions," and "The time to act is now.”

Kadhimi launched a national dialogue last July, but the movement of Muqtada Sadr did not attend either session.

In a previous interview with Al-Monitor, US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Iran and Iraq Jennifer Gavito said, “A figure like Muqtada al-Sadr does represent a very significant set of voices in his country.” She invited him and every other voice from the political spectrum to be heard in the discussion in order to set Iraq on a path toward stability.

In last year's elections, Sadr won the most seats but he did not succeed in forming the government. The Coordination Framework formed a blocking third that halted the process of selecting the president.

Sadr finally withdrew from the parliament last June, leaving the Coordination Framework as the largest block and in charge of forming the government.

As a part of the process to form the government, the Coordination Framework's candidate Muhammad Shia Sudani accompanied by Halbousi and the head of Popular Mobilization Units, Faleh Fayyadh, visited Erbil on Oct. 10 and met with Kurdistan Democratic Party head Masoud Barzani.

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