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.
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.
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.
Subscribe to our newsletters to get the latest on COVID–19 and stories of your interest directly in your inbox.Register
HONG KONG NEWS