In Rudaw 

Iraqi parliamentarians ready to vote on PM designate’s proposed government

Shiite parliamentarians from various blocs in Iraq have collected 80 signatures, signalling their readiness to vote on prime minister designate Adnan al-Zurfi’s proposed government, sources tell Rudaw.

However, MPs say that Zurfi faces slim chances of securing the premiership due to mounting opposition from Shiite parties, with only Muqtada al-Sadr’s Sairoon bloc supporting the PM designate.

“There are plenty of barriers in Zurfi’s way. Such impediments mainly come from the Shiite parliamentary blocs,” Nada Shakir Jawdat, an MP from the Nasr Coalition, told Rudaw.

Jawdat added that “the Kurdish and Sunni blocs wait to see what the Shiite blocs’ stances turn out to be.”

“If the atmosphere favors Zurfi, they too will throw their support behind him. But if, God forbid, it is not the case, the overall situation might change,” she added.

She did not reveal whether or not her coalition would support Zurfi.

In his recently drafted agenda, Zurfi says he supports both the Kurdish Peshmerga and Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi.

He also claims that he will pursue a just mechanism to resolve the lingering issues between Erbil and Baghdad.

“In the beginning, some Shiite sides who were for the nomination of Zurfi have now backtracked,” Nahro Ruwanduzi, a Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) MP in Baghdad, told Rudaw.

“There are now serious talks being held among the Shiite parties to appoint someone else. In less than four days, another person will be designated as far as what I am closely aware of,” Ruwanduzi added.

Iran-backed Fatih coalition led by former militia commander Hadi al-Amiri and the State of Law coalition led by former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki have vocalized their opposition to Zurfi’s candidacy.

The constitution allows parliament two more weeks to vote on Zurif’s government.

However, the body has yet to schedule a session to vote on the new cabinet.

The policy agenda submitted includes items related to the government’s coronavirus response, improving relations with the Kurdistan Regional Government, and women’s empowerment.

The PM-designate’s predecessor, Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi, failed to get his cabinet of independent technocrats approved after rebellion from Sunni, Kurdish, and some Shiite parties who feared they would lose their influence.

Zurfi’s agenda may jolt an inert government led by caretaker prime minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi since late November, when he resigned from the premiership in the face of mass protests calling for the removal of the post-2003 political order, an overhaul of the political system, and early elections.

Anti-government protesters have largely dismissed the prospective tenure of figures like Allawi and Zurfi, viewing them as members of the same establishment they aim to overthrow.

Zurfi was the target of protester ire before becoming PM designate, his office set alight in Najaf on January 19. Source