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The latest news on elections in Iraq – government, security, parliament, political, violence & more – brought to you by Iraq Business News

Politicians Work Towards National Consensus


By Mustafa al Kadhimi for Al Monitor. Any oppinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Iraq Business News.

After the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, the most used terms in the country are likely “political consensus,” “consensual democracy” and “consensual decision.” However, failures on all levels are often attributed to the lack of consensus, as some believe that achieving consensus in Iraq has become impossible and that division is inevitable.

One can say that the lack of consensus between different Iraqi parties and authorities has cost the country many opportunities at recovery. One can hold the political parties accountable for not believing in consensus from the beginning, and convince them of the importance of achieving — or at least seeking to reach — a consensus.

The year 2014 will be recorded as the year of historical setbacks in Iraq. It is also the year that Iraqi parties had to accept, perhaps for the first time, the concept of consensus as the standard for the upcoming phase, as a way to ensure the country’s unity and stability.

Ever since its formation, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s government has adopted a method of consensus to represent all Iraqis, at a time when the country needs its citizens united on one goal, namely, to free the country from terrorism.

The current calm relations between the three key leadership figures — Abadi, President Fouad Massoum and Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jabouri (pictured) — and the ministers and deputies are an accurate reflection of the term “consensus.” This calm comes after years of standoffs between the three governmental heads, which was reflected on the political scene and the community.

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Parliament Rejects Defense, Interior Ministry Candidates


By John Lee.

The Iraqi parliament has rejected the two candidates proposed by Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi for the posts of Interior Minister and Defense Minister.

In what Bloomberg describes as a setback for efforts to unite the country against the Islamic State, moderate Sunni Jaber al-Jaberi has been rejected as defense minister, and Riyad Ghareeb [Riad Al Gareeb], a Shiite, as interior minister.

Reuters reports that the Badr Organization wanted the interior ministry post, and quotes sources as saying they were angered by Al Abadi’s choice.

Muhsen Asfour was approved as water resources minister. The ministries of tourism, immigration and displacement, and women’s affairs are still to be approved.

(Sources: Bloomberg, Reuters)

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Iraq Forms New Cabinet under Abadi


By John Lee.

Iraq’s parliament has approved a new cabinet proposed by Haider al-Abadi.

According to a report from BBC News, the new government will have Sunni and Kurdish deputy prime ministers, Saleh al-Mutlak and former Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari respectively. Bahaa Araji, loyal to Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr, will also become a deputy PM.

The Financial Times reports that Nouri al-Maliki and his long-time rival, former prime minister Iyad Allawi, will serve in the ceremonial postings of vice-president, along with former parliament speaker Usama Nujaifi.

Former vice-president and Shia activist Adel Abdul Mahdi will oversee the oil ministry, while Roz Nouri Shaways will take over as the finance ministry.

Former prime minister Ibrahim Jafari, a Shia ally of Mr Maliki and Mr Abadi, will serve as foreign minister.

The US said the new government of Haidar al-Abadi, a moderate Shia, was a “major milestone” for Iraq.

Only 289 of 325 members of parliament attended the session, and many of the cabinet positions were approved with slim majorities

The Prime Minister has pledged to fill the posts of interior and defense ministers within a week.

The Kurdistan region has said its participation isconditional on Mr Abadi meeting its main demands in the next three months, in particular the payment of eight months of the region’s budget, which Mr Maliki withheld over an oil export dispute.

Kurdish negotiators also expect a commission to be set up to agree a new law for oil exports – the region wants to renegotiate oil revenue distribution and be allowed to export independently from Baghdad, which the ruling Shia bloc is against.

(Sources: Financial Times, BBC News, Al Arabiya)

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Getting the Balance Right


Iraq-watchers are eagerly awaiting the announcement of Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi’s proposed cabinet, which is due to be put before parliament in the coming week.

As always, it will be a difficult balancing act, but now more than ever it will be crucial to get that balance right.

Under ‘normal’ circumstances, it would seem sensible to reduce the number of ministries from more than 30 at present, but the fine tuning required to get agreement among the competing factions will make this difficult in practice.

With much riding on the outcome, it is clear that Haider al-Abadi has the support of many both inside and outside Iraq, and we look forward to seeing the results of his four weeks of deliberations.

(Flag image via Shutterstock)

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Biography of New Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi


Rabee Securites has issued the following biography of Iraq’s new Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi [Haydar al-Abbadi]:

CV of Haider Jwad El-Abadi, the New Prime Minister:

  • H. E. El-Abadi was born in Baghdad, in 1952. He is married and has three children.
  • His father was Dr. Jwad El-Abadi. He was a doctor and the management director of the Neuro Surgery Hospital. He was forced to retire in 1979 as he was included in a list of the 42 doctors who were forced to retire because they were not members of the Ba’ath Party.
  • In 1980, the government executed two of his brothers for being part of the banned Al-Da’wa party. One of them is Ali who was a university professor and the other one is Qssor who was an employee. In 1981, his third brother, a medical student, was imprisoned for ten years for the same reason.
  • In 1981, H. E., earned his PHD degree in electronical engineering from the University of Manchester in United Kingdom. In 1975 he got his bachelor degree in electronical engineering from the Technology University in Baghdad. He graduated from Al-Markaziya High School, which is one of Baghdad’s top schools.

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Maliki Quits as PM in Favour of Abadi


By John Lee.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has finally bowed to pressure and stepped aside to make way for Haider al-Abadi [Haydar al-Abbadi], who has been asked by Iraq’s president to form a government.

Appearing on state TV flanked by Mr Abadi and other Shia politicians, Mr Maliki said:

“I announce before you today, to ease the movement of the political process and the formation of the new government, the withdrawal of my candidacy in favour of brother Doctor Haider al-Abadi.”

Maliki had previously insisted on his right to form a new government based on the results of a parliamentary election held in April.

(Sources: BBC, Reuters)

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UN Officials urge Respect for Constitution


Amidst ongoing insecurity in northern Iraq, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his representative in the country expressed support today for President Fouad Masoum’s office, as politicians are working towards creating a new Government, and warned that heightened political tensions could lead Iraq into even deeper crisis.

Mr. Ban “commends Iraqi President Fuad Massoum for having charged Dr. Haider al-Abbadi, in accordance with the Iraqi Constitution, with the formation of a new government,” his spokesperson said in a statement.

He also encouraged Mr. al-Abbadi to form a “broad-based government acceptable to all components of Iraqi society, in accordance with the constitutional time-frame.”

According to Article 76 of the Iraqi Constitution, the new prime minister has 30 days from the date of designation to name members of his Council of Ministers. At that time, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki is legally obligated to step down.

According to media reports, Mr. Maliki spoke in a televised address at midnight, making it clear that he was not planning to step down, and challenged Mr. Massoum’s authority.

Hours later, Mr. Ban’s representative in Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov voiced support for Mr. Massoum’s office, saying that the President “is undertaking his duties in line with the Constitution and the democratic political process.”

In line with his constitutional obligation, Mr. Masoum will ask the largest bloc to nominate a candidate for Prime Minister “who can establish a broad-based and inclusive Government that is acceptable to all components of Iraqi society,” added Mr. Mladenov, who is also the head of the UN Assistance Mission in the country (UNAMI).

Mr. Mladenov also addressed Iraqi security forces which have reportedly took up positions around Baghdad, telling them that they “should refrain from actions that may be seen as interference in matters related to the democratic transfer of political authority.”

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Analyst: Political Moves in Iraq


From CNN. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The nomination of a new Iraqi prime minister could giveIraqis “a nationalistic surge,” says CNN military analyst.

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