Iraq parliament announce list of 33 presidential candidates after political hold-up

Iraq parliament announce list of 33 presidential candidates after political hold-up
The Iraqi Council of Representatives says 59 candidates applied for presidential elections, but 26 were excluded after not meeting the requirements of the role.
2 min read
23 February, 2022
This comes after the Iraqi parliament postponed a scheduled presidential vote earlier this month [Getty]

The Iraqi parliament released a list of 33 presidential candidates on Tuesday, after a long delay in the process over political tensions.

Iraqi Council of Representatives, the official name of the body, said in a statement that 59 candidates applied for the presidency post but 26 were excluded on the basis of not meeting the required conditions for the position.

On 7 February, the parliament postponed a scheduled vote for the republic's president, as most major political blocs boycotted the session after the Supreme Court temporarily suspended a frontrunner for the post, former Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, over years-old corruption charges.

"Thirty-three candidates fulfilled the conditions for candidacy for the position of President of the Republic [as] stipulated by law," Iraq's parliament said, as they announced the candidates' names.

Listed candidates include President Barham Ahmed Saleh, the candidate of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), and Reber Ahmed, the candidate from the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), who the Sadrist and the Sovereignty Alliance of Sunni parties have reportedly said they would back.

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Ahmed, who is currently Iraqi Kurdistan's interior minister has replaced Zebari as the KDP's presidential candidate.

The position of president of Iraq has been nominally reserved for Kurds since the 2003 overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime.

Applications for the presidency were excluded for reasons including candidates lacking political experience, not having a university degree, being involved in accountability and justice procedures, not meeting the age requirement, among others.

The exact date for the presidential elections has not yet been specified.

The announcement follows parliamentary elections in October, which came before post-election threats as negotiations among political groups failed to form a majority parliamentary coalition and name a new prime minister to succeed Mustafa Al-Kadhimi.

Iran-backed parties have disputed last year's general election, leading to a political crisis in Iraq.