Iraqi lawmakers to vote for new president nearly 5 months after disputed election

Iraqi lawmakers to vote for new president nearly 5 months after disputed election

Today, Iraqi lawmakers will decide which of seven candidates should be the country’s president, a key indicator for where the

iraq baghdad parliament president

Photo: Sabah Arar/AFP

Today, Iraqi lawmakers will decide which of seven candidates should be the country’s president, a key indicator for where the power lies in the Iraqi legislature.

The parliamentary vote comes nearly five months after the country’s tumultuous election. Allegations of a flawed electronic voting system prompted a recount in July, which ultimately saw cleric Muqtada Sadr’s Shiite Sairoon coalition secure the majority. Nominees represent the incumbent Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the Iraqi Islamic party and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).

Since 2003, the PUK has held the parliament’s highest leadership position while a Kurd has taken the country’s presidency with a Shiite Muslim as prime minister. Thus, it is unlikely that the status quo of Iraq’s executive will be completely overturned, especially given that the PUK has three contenders, including favourite Barham Saleh who both Sunnis and Shiites support. However, the deepening divide between the Kurdish parties over the management of Kurdistan, along with the rise of Sairoon in parliament, may allow the likely Shiite premiership to assume an even stronger role following the formation of the government, dampening the weight of the PUK in Iraqi politics.

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