Protesters in Baghdad's Tahrir Square have rejected the newly appointed Prime Minister-designate, Adnan al-Zurfi, saying he does not meet the conditions that they have outlined.
Iraq’s protest movement has rejected the appointment of Adnan al-Zurfi to succeed former Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi.
For the first time, protest groups and a wide range of Shiite parties and blocs have agreed on rejecting a candidate.
This means that Zurfi will not be able to form a new government and face the same fate of Mohammad Tawfiq Allawi, the earlier nominee who failed to form a cabinet by March 2.
Anti-government protesters in Tahrir Square, central Baghdad, issued a joint statement hours after Zurfi was named, calling for a comprehensive peaceful change through elections. They also said they were suspending all protest activities until the containment of the coronavirus pandemic.
“There will be no large gatherings with the suspension of all protest activities, including marches and cultural activities inside and outside the square until the crisis ends,” the statement said.
It added that volunteer groups would sterilize roads and shops in Tahrir.
The system has failed to agree on an alternative to former “bloodthirsty” prime minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, and is arbitrarily choosing other candidates, according to the statement.
The movement holds him responsible for killing more than 700 protesters and wounding about 27,000 since the start of the popular protests in October 2019.
The demonstrators had set a number of conditions for the candidate to the premiership, including not holding any previous senior positions in the state. They also want an independent candidate who doesn’t have any other foreign nationality.
Activist Saadoun Mohsen Damad believes that most activists rejected Zurfi because he didn’t meet their conditions. Zurfi had previously occupied several executive and legislative posts, and holds another nationality.
Damad told Asharq Al-Awsat that political blocs continue to ignore the protesters’ demands.
Another activist from Nasiriyah city, Abdul-Wahab al-Hamdani, also told the newspaper that the essential is to insist on a fair electoral law and holding the killers of demonstrators accountable for their crimes.