Tag Archive | "elections"

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

Fouad Massoum Elected as President


By John Lee.

The Iraqi parliament has elected Kurdish politician Fouad Massoum [Fuad Massum] as president, succeeding Jalal Talabani.

The 76-year-old is a founding member of Mr Talabani’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) party.

Associated Press reports that Massoum is considered a soft-spoken moderate, known for keeping good relations with Sunni and Shiite politicians.

According to BBC News, the presidency is the second major government post to be filled, after Salim al-Jabouri was elected as parliament speaker last week.

The next step will be for Massoum to select a candidate for prime minister to try to form a new government.

(Sources: BBC News, Associated Press, PUK)

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Iraqi Parliament Elects Speaker


By John Lee.

Iraqi MPs have elected Sunni lawmaker Salim al-Juburi [al-Jabouri] as the new speaker with 194 votes in the 328-seat parliament.

According to a report from Al Jazeera, it was unclear whether al-Jubuuri’s election indicated that a larger agreement had been struck among political blocs for the posts of president and prime minister.

The parliament has 30 days from the time it elected its speaker to pick a new president, and another 15 days to elect a prime minister.

Under an informal agreement that took hold after the 2003 US-led invasion, the speaker’s chair goes to a Sunni, the presidency to a Kurd and the prime minister’s post to a Shia.

(Source: Al Jazeera)

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Weekly Security Update, 08 – 14 July 2014


By Anne-Laure Barbosa at Constellis Consulting

Security IncidentsOn 15 July, Iraqi MPs took the first formal step toward forming a new government, by electing Salim al-Juburi, a Sunni lawmaker, as the new speaker of parliament. Negotiations between the main parliamentary blocs had been in gridlock since the April elections failed to produce a majority, with sessions adjourned or boycotted by the main protagonists. This vote comes as central authorities face mounting pressure from the international community to form a government capable of addressing the root causes of the ISIS insurgency. Despite these movements, the nomination of a parliament speaker is tempered by the fact that the designation of a new Prime Minister, who concentrates most decision-making powers, is unlikely to bring a similar consensus among the competing factions. The participation of the Kurdish factions in the electoral process also demonstrates that the Kurdish leadership remains cautious and currently seems determined to exploit opportunities available within the existing political framework. The next step toward forming a government is the election of the President, expected to be a Kurd, and which should ensure the continued involvement of Kurdish blocs in the Iraqi political process. Meanwhile, the KRG continued to take steps toward economic autonomy. On 11 June, Peshmerga forces seized control of production facilities at the Kirkuk and Bai Hassan oil fields, expelling Iraqi employees. The nomination of Juburi hardly reflected progress on the ground however, with the ISF counter-offensive launched in the North in a bid to re-take Tikrit failing to produce the expected results. Tribal alliances on the ground have the potential to shift rapidly and their negotiation will be key to the ISF to making permanent gains in ISIS-controlled territories.

North

Most of the violence reported in the North remained concentrated in northern Salahuddin, where ISF units are attempting to regain control of Tikrit. Additional hotspots for violence include southern areas of Kirkuk and northern districts of Diyala, with firefights between ISF and ISIS reported in Muqdadiyah. On 14 July, the ISF attempted to re-take control of the Amreli area of eastern Tikrit, following a two-week long counter-offensive on the Baathist stronghold. Although the ISF appears to have consolidated its positions in the outskirts of Tikrit and is now able to launch regular assaults on the area, claims that the Iraqi Army has managed to expel insurgents from Tikrit are an overstatement and the town is expected to remain disputed over the next weeks. In a possible attempt at alleviating the pressure on Tikrit, ISIS launched an assault on Dhululiya in the southeast of Samarra, and reportedly controls 40 percent of the town after two days of ongoing clashes. The rest of the town is controlled by local tribes and the ISF does not currently have a presence there, though units are expected to reach the area in the coming days. As appears to be demonstrated by ongoing reports from the ground, the concentration of military resources on Tikrit may lead to further ISIS gains south of Samarra. Meanwhile, the lack of local support for Iraqi forces in Tikrit is unlikely to lead to a major breakthrough, though an escalation in direct fighting between Iraqi troops and ISIS fighters is expected.

Central

As assessed in previous reports, the situation in central provinces remained stagnant this week, with most ISF operations on the western front focussed on targeting neighbourhoods of Fallujah, and major interactions between Iraqi soldiers and ISIS reported in Haditha and Ramadi. On 13 July, an assault organised by ISIS fighters and supported with military vehicles, was met by forces consisting of ISF, volunteers and tribal elements. The attack resulted in dozens of casualties. Meanwhile, levels of violence in Baghdad remained consistent with previous weekly averages, with attacks involving car bombs relatively scarce and confined to the outer borders of the capital, failing to inflict heavy losses. Eastern districts remained the most exposed to ISIS violence. On 12 June, unidentified gunmen stormed a residential complex in the capital’s Zayuna neighbourhood and killed over 30 civilians. The attack, which targeted apartments allegedly used as a brothel, may have been staged by Shia militias, whose role has become increasingly active in the capital following the collapse of armed forces in the North. Stagnating dynamics on the ground mean that the nature and frequency of attacks will remain similar over the next weeks.

South

The concentration of military resources in the North continued to provide ISIS cells with opportunities to strike areas south of Baghdad. Levels of violence in Babil continued to increase in frequency, demonstrating a continued commitment to weaken Baghdad’s southern belt. On 09 July, a VBIED struck Hillah’s northern neighbourhood of Jaza’ir, followed by the detonation of two additional car bombs in Mahawil district, northern Babil, killing at least 11 people. Ongoing ISF operations in the North have impacted on ISIS tactics, with attacks on Babil seen as a means to alleviate the pressure currently put on ISIS positions on the northern frontline. South-eastern provinces remain assessed as a low priority for insurgents, who are already engaged on multiple fronts across the country. The upcoming Shia festival celebrating the martyrdom of Imam Ali on 19 July nonetheless has the potential to trigger militant assaults on civilians, as pilgrims are expected to converge on Karbala over the next days.

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New Delay in Forming Govt


By John Lee.

The Iraqi parliament has again failed to break a political deadlock on the formation of a new government, reports Reuters.

After a brief session on Sunday, parliamentary officials postponed efforts to reach agreement until Tuesday.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki (pictured) is seeking a third term but faces opposition from Sunnis, Kurds, and rival Shi’ite parties.

(Source: Reuters)

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Dep PM: “I was Mistaken” in Joining Govt


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

Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq (pictured), head of the al-Arabiya Coalition, has said that a political solution is the only way to unite the positions of Shiites and Sunni tribes and isolate armed groups and called the fall of Mosul a natural result of the faulty structure of the Iraqi army.

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Mutlaq said it had been a mistake to accept the post of deputy prime minister within the context of partisan and sectarian agreements.

He affirmed that the policies of oppression and marginalization from which the Sunnis suffered are what pushed them to call for their own region. He stressed that the United States is responsible for what is happening in Iraq, as it ousted a dictatorship full of flaws yet with functioning state institutions.

The text of the interview follows:

Al-Monitor: The surprising agreement among Sunni forces to enter parliament in a single coalition drew the attention of observers. How did that happen?

Mutlaq: We do not believe in any alliances that are built on sectarian, ethnic or doctrinal bases. The primary foundation of our alliance is nationalism and public interest as well as achieving the demands of citizens. We exerted as much effort as possible prior to the elections to find a cross-sectarian national front, yet other forces were — and still are — insistent on dividing the people of a single nation into various groups, sects and races.

Our final alliance was based on the importance of consensus and implementing the demands of the provinces that held sit-ins and demanded the preservation of their residents’ dignity.

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Tuesday is Next Deadline, but don’t Hold your Breath!


By John Cookson. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The session on Tuesday to choose a new leadership to rescue Iraq from meltdown on was arguably one of the most important Iraqi MPs had ever attended.

Roads within a 2 kilometres of Baghdad’s Green Zone had been sealed. Journalists attending the key parliamentary session said they walked 40 minutes in searing heat through 10 security checkpoints to get in. The ring of steel around the National Assembly building had never been tighter.

Right on time the whole show began to play out on state television. It started harmoniously enough with an orchestra playing an uplifting version of the Iraqi National Anthem – the kind of music associated with national pride and a sense of unity.

Lots of hand shakes and smiles all round; you could almost believe that at last Iraqi politicians were getting their act together to begin the process of selecting a powerful new government to beat Sunni jihadist revolution.

But when the music died, the bickering began.

Arab MPs accused the Kurds of selling their oil to Israel. One shouted: “Crush the heads of the Kurds!

Other allegations flew around the assembly hall. The Sunnis were furious about mention of the jihadis movement Islamic State.

Fingers were jabbed in faces. Some politicians raged at each other nose to nose.

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Video: Will Ahmed Chalabi be Next PM?


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

Ahmed Chalabi, a divisive Iraqi politician who is in the United States, could become the country’s next prime minister.

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Iraqi Legislators Fail to Agree


By Laith Hammoudi.

This article was originally published by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, iwpr.net, and it is reproduced by Iraq Business News with permission. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News

The Iraqi parliament broke up in disarray on July 1 after members failed to agree on a new speaker.

This was the first time legislators had gathered since being elected in April, and they were supposed to set about picking a new speaker as a first step towards building a new cabinet in the face of the continuing offensive by the the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and allied insurgent groups.

However, in under two hours the meeting was over and nothing had been decided.

“The session is adjourned and will be held on June 8, if agreement is reached,” acting speaker Mahdi al-Hafidh said, after members of the Kurdish and Sunni blocs walked out.

As the session began with 255 out of 325 members of parliament in attendance, Kurdish politician Najiba Najib called on Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who was present in the chamber, to end what she called the “siege” the Kurdistan region was suffering.

Acting speaker Hafidh refused to countenance a debate on the issue, saying the meeting would be wholly given over to choosing a full-time speaker. He then ordered a half-hour break in proceedings to give parliamentary factions time for further discussions, but the recess ended with the departure of the Sunni and Kurdish blocs.

Hafidh began discussing what to do now with members of the United Iraqi Alliance, a mainly Shia bloc led by former prime minister Ibrahim al-Jafari.

Jafari said nothing could now be legally decided given that the walk-out meant there was no quorum.

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