Iraq ex-gov­er­nor named PM-des­ig­nate as Baghdad awaits cur­few

Times Standard (Eureka) - - WEATHER - By Samya Kullab

BAGHDAD >> Iraq’s pres­i­dent Tues­day named a for­mer gov­er­nor of the city of Na­jaf as prime min­is­ter-des­ig­nate fol­low­ing weeks of po­lit­i­cal in­fight­ing as Baghdad res­i­dents rushed to stock up on sup­plies hours be­fore a days-long cur­few was set to take hold amid a global pan­demic.

Ad­nan al-Zurfi was ap­pointed pre­mier-des­ig­nate by Pres­i­dent Barham Saleh af­ter tense meet­ings be­tween ri­val po­lit­i­cal blocs. The meet­ings went on for weeks with­out reach­ing a con­sen­sus on a can­di­date to re­place out­go­ing Pre­mier Adel Ab­dul-Mahdi. Hours af­ter the an­nounce­ment, Iraq’s pow­er­ful Fatah par­lia­men­tary bloc re­jected al-Zurfi’s can­di­dacy sig­nal­ing a rocky path to govern­ment for­ma­tion for the new pre­mier-des­ig­nate.

An ear­lier pre­mier-des­ig­nate, Mo­hammed Allawi, with­drew his can­di­dacy af­ter po­lit­i­cal groups re­jected his pro­posed Cabi­net lineup.

Fatah, headed by Hadi al-Ameri, gar­nered the sec­ond high­est num­ber of seats in par­lia­ment in the May 2018 fed­eral elec­tion.

In a state­ment, the bloc ac­cused Saleh of “dis­re­gard­ing” the con­sti­tu­tion and nam­ing al-Zurfi in the ab­sence of po­lit­i­cal con­sen­sus. “The pres­i­dent of the repub­lic shall en­dure full re­spon­si­bil­ity for the reper­cus­sions of this provoca­tive step.”

“We will take all mea­sures to pre­vent this dis­re­gard of the law and con­sti­tu­tion,” the state­ment said.

Al-Zurfi, 54, was ap­pointed by Iraq’s U.S. ad­min­is­tra­tor Paul Bre­mer as gov­er­nor of Na­jaf in 2004 and later served in the same post be­tween 2009 and 2015. His third term was cut short fol­low­ing his dis­missal by the provin­cial coun­cil. In the May 2018 elec­tion he won a seat in par­lia­ment un­der for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Haidar alAbadi’s list.

Ac­cord­ing to Iraq’s con­sti­tu­tion, al-Zurfi has 30 days to pro­pose a lineup of min­is­ters and form a new govern­ment. Saleh wished al-Zarfi suc­cess “in his new tasks to work for early and fair elec­tions and to achieve the as­pi­ra­tions of the Iraqis,” ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from his of­fice.

HADI MIZBAN — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE

In this Feb. 5, 2005, photo, then Gov­er­nor of Na­jaf Ad­nan Al-Zurfi gives a news con­fer­ence in Na­jaf, Iraq. On Tues­day, Iraq’s pres­i­dent named Al-Zurfi as prime min­is­ter-des­ig­nate.

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