Politics & Economics

Iraq: Speaker of Parliament elected as government formation process underway

Iraq

During the Iraqi Parliament's session, Muhammad al-Halbusi was elected as the Speaker of Parliament with the support of the Construction bloc. The Speaker of Parliament's two deputies were also elected in the session. Halbusi is currently the youngest Speaker of Parliament to ever be elected in Iraq.

Over the weekend, the Iraqi Parliament resumed its first session and was able to finally elect the Speaker of the Parliament along with his two deputies. During the session, many MPs put themselves forward, aiming to become speakers of parliament. However, some withdrew their nomination throughout the process. After parliament members conducted an internal secret ballot, the candidate who was preferred by the Construction Bloc, Mohammed al-Halbusi, won the vote with 169 votes.

Al-Halbusi, who was born in 1981, is the former Governor of Anbar Province and is the youngest individual to hold the position of Speaker of Parliament in Iraq’s history. During the elections, al-Halbusi headed the Anbar Hawiyatuna Alliance (Anbar is our Identity), which gained 6 out of the 17 seats allocated for Anbar Province.

Despite his party’s small number of seats, al-Halbusi was able to gain influence after aligning himself with the Construction Bloc, which claims to have the largest bloc. However, the issue of the ‘largest bloc’ has resulted in a dispute within the Iraqi Parliament, resulting in the matter being referred to the Iraqi Supreme Court.

MPs that were present in the session say that the election of al-Halbusi as Speaker of Parliament by the Construction Bloc settles the dispute over the ‘largest bloc.’

“The Construction Bloc has confirmed in front of the world and the Iraqi people that it is the largest bloc,” said Mansour al-Bu’aiji an MP for the Construction Bloc. “I believe that the government will [soon] be formed by the largest blocs and that the three heads of government will take their positions.”

This claim was disputed by MPs in the other camp. “This matter is far from being settled,” said Hassan Khlati, an MP for the Reform and Reconstruction Bloc, which is led by Haider al-Abadi and Muqtada al-Sadr. Despite this dispute, it looks like the process towards the formation of the Iraqi Government has finally taken a step forward after months of stalling due to electoral fraud allegations.

The next step for the Iraqi Parliament is to elect a new president, who will then order the ‘largest bloc’ to name a candidate for premiership.