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Why Iraqi Lawmakers Failed To Elect A New President

Iraqi lawmakers have failed to elect a new president as key factions blocked the process by boycotting Monday’s parliament session.

A two-thirds quorum of the legislature’s 329 members is required for an electoral session.

But Monday’s vote could not be held as legislators, many of them allied with powerful Shia Iraqi leader Muqtada al-Sadr, stayed away.

Only 58 showed up.The boycott was announced on Sunday by al-Sadr, who heads the largest parliamentary bloc with 73 seats.

He was followed by parliament speaker Mohamed al-Halbousi, who heads a bloc of 51 seats.

The 31-seat Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) then followed suit.

The Sadrist Bloc made its announcement after Iraq’s Supreme Court temporarily suspended the nomination of frontrunner Hoshyar Zebari, whose presidential bid is supported by al-Sadr.

The high court cited pending corruption charges against the veteran Kurdish politician and former foreign minister, adding that the candidacy of the Western-friendly statesman could not proceed until corruption charges from a separate 2016 stint were dealt with.

The 2016 charges against Zebari, for which he was never convicted, stem from his time as finance minister when he was dismissed from the job over alleged corruption.

On Sunday, Zebari denied the charges and said he respected the court’s decision to temporarily suspend his candidacy until the issue is resolved.

Jazeeral

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