Iraqi President Barham Salih’s decision to appoint Adnan al-Zurfi as Prime Minister-Designate has been rejected by both protesters and Shia political blocs.
Adnan al-Zurfi has been tasked with forming a government by Iraqi President Barham Salih. However, the designation of the former Governor of Najaf has been rejected by some political blocs and many protesters on the street.
Anti-government protesters issued a joint statement just hours after al-Zurfi was appointed, calling for a comprehensive change. According to the protester, he does not meet a number of criteria for an acceptable candidate, including someone who has not previously held senior positions in government and who doesn’t possess a foreign nationality. Al-Zurfi holds US alongside Iraqi citizenship.
In the recent election, al-Zurfi ran under the Nasr coalition, headed by former Prime Minister, Haidar al-Abadi. He was also a former official of the United States-run Coalition Provincial Authority, which governed Iraq from 2004 – 2005.
Shia political blocs have also come out in a unified position opposing al-Zurfi’s nomination. A statement that promised to use legal, political and social means to halt President Salih’s decision was signed by a range of political parties, including the Fatah Alliance and State of Law Coalition, two prominent Shia parties. Reports claim several Shia political leaders will form a committee to prevent President Salih from allowing al-Zurfi to form a government.
Al-Zurfi does however have the support of some groups, including the Nasr Coalition (another Shia party), the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI). UNAMI’s head, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, expressed the need to provide the appropriate atmosphere for the new government, and called on al-Zurfi to seek the support of all political parties.
Al-Zurfi is to replace caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, who quit in December after widespread demonstrations that protested against a government they see as corrupt. Former Prime Minister-Designate Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi also failed to gain the support of the protesters and withdrew his candidacy after accusing political blocs of obstructing his attempts to form a government.