Former Najaf Governor Named Iraqi PM-designate
Iraqi President Barham Salih named Adnan al-Zurfi as prime minister-designate of the country. Zurfi, a former governor of the predominantly Shi’ite Najaf region, now has 30 days to break the political deadlock that has racked the country and form a government. He is head of the small Nasr parliamentary group of former prime minister Haider al-Abadi, a US ally. Zurfi lived in the United States as a refugee in the 1990s after fleeing the regime of Saddam Hussein. Zurfi’s appointment comes two weeks after former prime minister-designate Mohammed Allawi withdrew his candidacy, accusing political parties of obstructing him. If Zurfi is successful in forming a government, he will succeed former prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, who resigned in November amid mass demonstrations against a government that was perceived to be corrupt, incapable of providing basic services, and beholden to foreign powers, particularly Iran.