Protest in southern Iraq against nomination of Basra Gov Eidani for PM (Al Mirbad)
The pro-Iran Bina bloc headed by the Badr Organization’s Hadi Amiri has proposed one unpopular candidate for premier after another. President Barham Salah has rejected both fearing that they would only inflame the street more. In protest he offered his resignation claiming that he’s gotten contradictory information about which coalition represents the largest bloc in parliament, and thus has the right to name the next prime minister.
Bina first nominated Higher Education Minister Qusay al-Suhail, which was backed by Iran and its proxy Hezbollah. Suhail came from Dawa and the State of Law list. Given the misrule of former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki who heads State of Law, putting Suhail’s name out there seemed like a slap in the face to the public, and there were protests against him. President Salah reportedly opposed Suhail as well worried about the implications if he were to be put into office with the backing of Tehran. Bina then proposed Basra Governor Asad al-Eidani. Again, given the annual protests in that province demanding an end to corruption, development, and jobs that was another candidate who would not be acceptable to the demonstrators. Like with Suhail, there have been marches against Eidani as well. It’s assumed that means Bina will have to come up with a third person, and perhaps more until one is finally agreed upon.
After Prime Minister Abd Abdul Mahdi resigned, parliament had 15 days to name a successor. Given the divisions within Iraqi politics this was an impossible deadline to meet. Legally, Bina is the largest bloc so President Salah is bound to accept whoever they name. That’s especially true because the rival coalition led by Moqtada al-Sadr has been reluctant to name any alternatives trying to play the populist card by claiming that the people should name their next leader. That finally played out and Sadr named four candidates on December 25. Still he doesn’t have the seats in parliament to push through any of them. That leaves President Salah to continue with his remonstrations and ignoring the constitution until the Bina list comes up with someone more acceptable and that could win over Sadr. Seeing as how every new government takes months to put together Iraq could be in a political limbo for a very long time and Abdul Mahdi and his cabinet still in office until a grand compromise is eventually forged.
Abdul-Zahra, Qassim, “Iran-backed bloc names Basra governor for post of Iraqi PM,” Associated Press, 12/25/19
Agence France Presse, “Paralysis in Iraq as protesters harden position,” 12/24/19
Ghafuri, Lawk, “Iraqi president rejects prime minister nominee, threatens to resign,” Rudaw, 12/26/19
Al Hurra, “Iran’s bloc founder .. Barham Salah exposes Bina’s contradictions,” 12/26/19
- “Presidency of the Government of Iraq .. A Hezbollah man markets Iran’s candidate in Qom and last-minute deals,” 12/19/19
NINA, “Protesters In Basra Reject The Candidacy Of Governor Assad Al-Eidani For The Post Of PM,” 12/25/19
- “Representation of the sit-in squares officially nominated Faeq Sheikh Ali for the post of PM,” 12/26/19
- “Tahrir Square Demonstrators Reject Al-Suhail’s Candidacy As Prime Minister,” 12/22/19
NRT, “Sadr Nominates Four Candidates For Iraq’s Prime Minister Position,” 12/25/19