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Thursday, April 09, 2020, 20:09
Iraq intelligence chief named as new PM-designate
By Xinhua
Thursday, April 09, 2020, 20:09 By Xinhua

A handout picture released by the media office of the Iraqi Presidency on April 9, 2020 shows President Barham Saleh (3rd right) and his new prime minister-designate spy chief Mustafa Kadhemi (right) along with other members of their government during a meeting in Baghdad. (IRAQI PRESIDENCY / AFP)

BAGHDAD — Iraqi President Barham Salih on Thursday named the intelligence chief Mustafa al-Kadhimi as prime minister-designate to replace Adnan al-Zurfi, the official television reported.   

Salih received al-Kadhimi in his office in the Presidential Palace in central Baghdad and handed him the task letter to form a new government within 30 days in the presence of some political leaders and senior officials, the state-run Iraqiya channel said. 

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The nomination of al-Kadhimi came shortly after al-Zurfi said he will not participate in forming a new government.   

In a letter released by local media, al-Zurfi said his retreat from the new government aims to "preserve Iraq's unity and its higher interests."

I will continue to work and prepare for the upcoming early elections to complete the national project and develop its economic foundations for the reconstruction of Iraq

Adnan al-Zurfi, Iraqi Prime Minister-designate

He also pledged to continue serving the Iraqi people through his position as a lawmaker.

"I will continue to work and prepare for the upcoming early elections to complete the national project and develop its economic foundations for the reconstruction of Iraq," al-Zurfi said

In the past days, major political blocs have pushed for the nomination of al-Kadhimi to replace al-Zurfi as prime minister-designate.   

On March 17, Salih named al-Zurfi as the prime minister-designate to form an interim government after the Shiite political blocs failed to nominate a candidate for the post.   

On Wednesday, the Iraqi Forces Coalition, a major Sunni political bloc headed by Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi, announced in a statement its support for nominating al-Kadhimi as the new prime minister-designate.   

In this March 18, 2020 file photo, an anti-government protester passes a defaced picture of Iraq's then Prime Minister-designate Adnan Al-Zurfi, in Tahrir Square, Baghdad, Iraq. HADI MIZBAN/AP)

Nechirvan Barzani, prime minister of the government of Iraq's semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan, also said in a statement that his government supports the nomination of al-Kadhimi to form the government.   

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Al-Kadhimi, 53, has headed the Iraqi Intelligence Service since June 2016.   

According to the Iraqi constitution, the prime minister-designate has 30 days to put together a cabinet and present it to the parliament for approval. Each individual minister must be approved in separate absolute majority votes in the parliament.

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