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Iraqi president receives list of candidates for new PM-designate

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The Iraqi President Barham Salih on Monday received a list of candidates to choose one of them as prime minister-designate to form a new government that would replace the caretaker government of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, an official news agency reported.

The state-run Iraqi News Agency (INA) quoted well-informed political sources as saying that Salih received a list of a number of candidates, including Mohammad Shia al-Sudani, Asaad al-Eidani and Mustafa al-Kazemi.

The president also "received the names of candidates nominated by the demonstrators, one of them is Judge Raed Jouhi," according to INA.

It said that the list is not final and can be changed according to the agreement of the political blocs, and the president will ask a figure for the post of prime minister-designate after he (Salih) guarantees in advance his approval by the parliament.

INA also said that Abdul Mahdi has informed Salih that the deadline for his caretaker government is next Thursday, according to the sources.

According to article 76 of the Iraqi constitution, the largest coalition in parliament should nominate a candidate for the vacant post to president who will task the new prime minister-designate within 15 days to form a new cabinet.

According to INA, Salih might go for other options and chose a candidate for the post from outside the largest coalition, because (the independent politician) Abdul Mahdi was nominated for the premier post by political agreement after the largest winners of the 2018 elections disputed over who was the largest coalition.

"Then the (constitutional) condition of the largest coalition had ended after Adel Abdul Mahdi was nominated for the post of prime minister," INA said citing the sources' explanation.

On Dec. 1, the Iraqi parliament approved the resignations of Abdul Mahdi and his government and sent a letter about the resignation to President Salih on Dec. 4, then Salih will have to task a prime minister-designate within a period of 15 days.

The prime minister-designate has 30 days to form a cabinet and present it to parliament for approval. The parliament must approve each minister in separate absolute majority votes.

For their part, the demonstrators reject any candidate for prime minister-designate from the political parties participating in the current political process, and stipulate that the candidate be independent.

The current political row came as mass demonstrations have continued in the capital Baghdad and other cities in central and southern Iraq since early October, demanding comprehensive reform, fight against corruption, better public services and more job opportunities.
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