MADRID, Feb. 6 (Royals Blue) –
The Federal Court of Iraq has announced the temporary suspension of the candidacy of former Deputy Prime Minister Hoshiar Zebari for the Presidency of the country, less than 24 hours before the vote to elect the head of state takes place, right now in the air after this ruling and the boycott declared the day before by the country’s main parliamentary bloc.
The court has adopted the decision after receiving complaints from several Iraqi deputies and after concluding that Zebari’s candidacy, investigated in the past for alleged corruption, did not meet the requirements of “integrity and good reputation” set by the Iraqi Constitution.
In his first response, Zebari declared his deep “respect” for the decision, which he blamed on complaints from elements opposed to the renewal wave that the candidate claims to be leading.
“It has been a lawsuit filed by some of those who cling to the days before the reform,” he stated in a post on his Facebook page, where he assured that he meets all the conditions to defend his presidential candidacy.
Zebari is the candidate presented by the Democratic Party of Kurdistan, which governs in the semi-autonomous Iraqi region, in compliance with the country’s political system, where it is stipulated that the president of the nation must be of Kurdish ethnicity, and his figure had been put in doubt by what is now the great strongman of Iraqi politics, the cleric Muqtada al Sadr, whose formation won the largest number of seats in the October elections.
Although the PDK and Al Sadr are on good terms, the cleric — who led a fierce anti-corruption campaign during the elections — published a message on Friday in which he made his support for Zebari’s candidacy conditional on his meeting “the necessary requirements”.
Zebari served as the Iraqi finance minister from 2014 to 2016 before being removed from office following a secret parliamentary no-confidence motion over alleged corruption and embezzlement of public funds. Although Zebari denied the accusation brought against him at the time, 158 deputies out of 249 present at the meeting voted against him. He was later acquitted of the charges.
The former minister was competing in principle for the position with the candidate of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and current president of the country, Barham Salí. The election of the president is an essential step to elect the prime minister of Iraq.
Hours after publishing the message about Zebari, the cleric broke the deck and announced his intention to boycott the presidential election process and suspend talks with the rest of the political parties to form a government with the intention of promoting the formation of an Executive based in its parliamentary majority — and with the backing of Sunnis and Kurds — instead of pursuing the usual consensus of unity that has marked recent years in Iraqi politics.
In fact, this very Sunday, Al Sadr and the president of the Democratic Party of Kurdistan, Masud Barzani, have confirmed their intention to bet on a majority government led by the formation of the religious.
Both leaders highlighted the creation of a “cohesive strategic alliance”, with a view to “accelerating a majority government to fulfill its duties towards the Iraqi people, satisfy their aspirations, preserve their higher interests and consolidate the pillars of stability and prosperity,” according to a statement picked up by the official Iraqi news agency, INA.
Al Sadr categorically refuses to allow the Shia parties backed by Iran, big losers in the legislative elections in October, to join the Iraqi Executive, at least with the influence of past years. The best example of this tension is his rejection of the presence in the future government of any member of the Shiite State of Law coalition, led by former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
If Al Sadr manages to form a majority government with his Sunni and Kurdish allies, the first consequence would be that Al Maliki and Fatah — the Shia political bloc to which the pro-Iranian Popular Mobilization Forces militias belong — could go into opposition. , in what would be a dramatic blow to the ‘status quo’ in which the country’s national politics has lived in recent years, and between threats of violence if such a scenario finally occurs.