Iraq’s parliament to convene Thursday to elect president, says speaker

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Iraq’s parliament will meet on Thursday to “elect the President of the Republic,” a press release from speaker Mohammed al-Halbussi’s office said on Tuesday, after months of political impasse.

More than a year after the last general election in Iraq, Halbussi’s office said Thursday’s parliamentary session would have “a single item on the agenda, the election of the President of the Republic.”

Iraqis last voted on October 10, 2021 in an election triggered by a wave of mass protests against endemic corruption, rampant unemployment and decaying infrastructure.

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Ahead of Tuesday’s surprise announcement, the United Nations mission had urged political factions to end the deadlock paralyzing the oil-rich country, warning that “Iraq is running out of time.”

The country has yet to form a new government after last year’s election, leaving caretaker Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi in charge.

Rival Shia Muslim factions in parliament have been vying for influence and the right to select a new premier and government.
The standoff has seen both sides set up protest camps and at times has sparked deadly street clashes in Baghdad.

On August 30, current President Barham Saleh had urged “new, early elections in accordance with a national consensus,” saying these could provide “an exit from the stifling crisis.”

The largely honorific post of Iraqi president is traditionally reserved for a Kurd.

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