ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iraq’s prime minister designate Adnan al-Zurfi announced that he has sent his list of cabinet candidates and agenda to parliament for approval on Saturday, according to state media, in a bid to tackle the country’s political stasis.
“I am waiting for the parliament to appoint a day to vote on the agenda,” Zurfi told Sky News Arabia, adding that his drafted cabinet consists of “competent” people.
The policy agenda submitted includes items related to the government’s coronavirus response, improving relations with the Kurdistan Regional Government, and women’s empowerment. As per the Iraqi constitution, the PM designate has 48 hours to send the resumes of the selected candidates to parliament.
Parliament has been out of session since March 15, following its suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic crisis that has swept the country.
On March 17, Iraq’s President Barham Salih tasked three-term Najaf governor Zurfi with forming a government following weeks of contention between Iraq’s parliamentary blocs.
The PM-designate’s predecessor, Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi, failed to get his cabinet of independent technocrats approved after rebellion from Sunni, Kurdish, and some Shiite parties who feared they would lose their influence.
Zurfi’s agenda may jolt an inert government led by caretaker prime minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi since late November, when he resigned from the premiership in the face of mass protests calling for the removal of the post-2003 political order, an overhaul of the political system, and early elections.
Anti-government protesters have largely dismissed the prospective tenure of figures like Allawi and Zurfi, viewing them as members of the same establishment they aim to overthrow.
Zurfi was the target of protester ire before becoming PM designate, his office set alight in Najaf on January 19.
The PM-designate faces similar parliamentary opposition to Allawi, with both the Iran-backed Fatih coalition led by former militia commander Hadi al-Amiri and the State of Law coalition led by former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki voicing their opposition to Zurfi’s candidacy.
Source: Rudaw, April 4, 2020