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Iraqi president names intelligence chief as new PM-designate

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-04-09 19:11

Iraq's President Barham Salih instrcuts newly appointed Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in Baghdad, Iraq April 9, 2020. The Presidency of the Republic of Iraq Office/Handout via REUTERS

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."

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.

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.

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