Politics & Economics

PM-Designate Of Iraq Defies Pushback, Continues Government-Formation


Despite opposition from a number of major Shia blocs, the Prime Minister-Designate of Iraq, Adnan al-Zurfi, appears to be trying to gather support from the remaining Shia, Sunni and Kurdish parties to go ahead with the formation of a government.

Despite the many looming crises Iraq faces, including continued ISIS attacks and the COVID-19 outbreak, the country’s political scene remains mired in government formation. The country’s recently-appointed Prime Minister-designate, Adnan al-Zurfi, has continued his efforts to form a government. However, he is facing growing opposition from a number of major Shia parties who have tried to implement a plan that take powers away from al-Zurfi and present their own candidate.

Among the major parties opposing al-Zurfi’s premiership are the Fatah Coalition, State of Law Coalition and the Sadiquoun Bloc that is affiliated with Asaib Ahl al-Haq. A number of participants in the Iraqi protest movement have also rejected al-Zurfi. They justified their opposition to al-Zurfi’s nomination on grounds that he is a dual-citizen, and his other citizenship is that of the United States. Al-Zurfi is also seen as being part of the “system”, having been the governor of Najaf and been involved in the Coalition Provisional Authority that governed Iraq between 2004 and 2005 and is viewed as having been involved in the corruption and abuses associated with it. To the Opponents, there is no option other than rejecting al-Zurfi as Prime Minister.

Al-Zurfi’s premiership, however, received support from a number of other parties including the Nasr Coalition of former Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi and the only major Shia bloc to support him. Al-Zurfi had, indeed, ran under the Nasr Coalition in the most recent elections. Notably, the main Sunni Arab parties and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). Furthermore, al-Zurfi has also received more international support in contrast to the alternatives. It would appear that such support has given the PM-designate enough ground to start forming a government.

Like his predecessors, al-Zurfi will face an uphill struggle. That he has support from these parties is no guarantee that he will be able to operate freely, as numerous other Prime Ministers have been hobbled by the very parties that brought them to power. His government, if one is formed, will see him dealing with a hostile protest movement, the COVID-19 outbreak, collapsing oil prices, corruption and a budding ISIS insurgency.