Iraqi parliament reopens candidacy for president

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The Iraqi Parliament said Tuesday it will accept applications for running for the country’s presidency as of Wednesday. In a statement, Parliament Speaker Mohamed al-Halbousi said candidacy will remain open for three days.

The move came after Iraqi lawmakers on Monday failed to elect a new head of state due to the lack of quorum amid a boycott for the session by political factions.

The constitutional deadline for presidential candidacy has expired.

According to the constitution, the parliament should elect the president within a maximum period of 30 days from their first session after their election. This period expires today considering that the parliament held its first session on January 9.

A parliamentary source told Anadolu Agency that 58 out of 329 lawmakers attended Monday’s session, forcing the parliament speaker to delay the session to elect the president.

Twenty-five candidates had vied for the presidential office, including incumbent President Barham Salih.

Al-Halbousi said Tuesday’s decision comes “in view of the expiry of the constitutional period specified for electing the president of the republic.”

Under a political norm since 2006, a Kurd is elected for Iraq’s presidency, while a Sunni heads the parliament, and a Shia takes the prime minister position.

On Sunday, Iraq’s Supreme Federal Court temporarily suspended Kurdish politician Hoshyar Zebari’s bid for presidency after lawmakers filed complaints over graft accusations against him.

* Writing by Ibrahim Mukhtar in Ankara.

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