Mohammed Allawi gave a speech apologizing to the public for failing to form a government and stepped down as the prime minister designate. The ruling parties are still divided about how to move forward leaving the government in continued crisis.
Iraq’s parliament fell short four times to find a quorum to vote on Allawi’s cabinet leading him to give up on creating a new government. Allawi was supported by Moqtada al-Sadr’s Sairoon and the Fatah list headed by Badr’s Hadi Amiri. His main critics were the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Iraqi Forces list of Speaker Mohammed al-Halbusi. Allawi said he wanted a non-partisan cabinet, while the KPD and Iraqi Forces wanted to maintain the quota system to assure them of positions, and were afraid that Sairoon and Fatah would dominate Allawi’s administration. Some of the other Shiite parties were divided over the matter as well. The result was parliament was never able to get enough lawmakers to vote on the cabinet.
This was the country’s latest political failure. Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi was selected in 2018 as an independent. With no political party behind him he proved feckless in the face of the demands of the party leaders with his only accomplishment being the passing of the budget. He resigned in November 2019 in the face of national protests demanding change. Allawi too was an independent. Sairoon and Fatah said that he was only going to have a limited mandate that they set for him such as removing the U.S. military from the country and scheduling new elections, but he talked about carrying out widespread reforms, which didn’t endear him to many politicians. The larger problem is that the ruling class is set in its ways. They run an oil rich state which makes them independent of the public because they don’t rely upon them for taxes despite the democratic system. Now they are being called on to be accountable, which they have never been. In the face of massive protests they simply wanted to replace one figurehead premier with another while maintaining all of their power and privilege. The result is that Baghdad finds itself in political limbo unwilling to change in the face of a popular revolt.
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