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Iraq’s Salih Threatens to Choose New PM If Lawmakers Can’t
Not as happy as he looks. Iraqi President Barham Salih smiles during an audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican on January 25 (Grzegorz Galazka/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)

Iraq’s Salih Threatens to Choose New PM If Lawmakers Can’t

Iraqi President Barham Salih says he will choose a prime minister-designate himself if the country’s lawmakers, entrusted by the constitution with making this choice, cannot come to an agreement and do so by February 1. Adel Abdel-Mahdi, currently the caretaker prime minister, resigned in late November over anti-government unrest that has rocked Iraq since early October. Close to 500 people have been killed in skirmishes with security forces and pro-Iran militias while protesting against government corruption and undue influence in the country’s affairs by Tehran. The two main parties representing Iraq’s majority Shi’ite population – Islah, led by Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, and Bina, a party that is said to take its orders from Iran – have been bickering over candidates since Abdel-Mahdi’s resignation. Salih declared on Wednesday that if the two could not settle on an agreed candidate, he would carry out his “constitutional prerogatives” and “designate the person I find more acceptable to the public and parliament.”

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