Iraq's president says political deadlock 'dangerous'

Delay will lead the country towards 'dangerous mazes in which everyone will be a loser', says Barham Salih

Iraq's President Barham Salih shows his inked finger after voting in Baghdad on October 10, 2021.  Reuters
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Iraq’s President Barham Salih on Saturday said that the current political deadlock in the country would have dangerous repercussions, and called for the process of forming a new government to be speeded up.

Nearly six months have passed since Iraq held parliamentary elections, yet the country still has no government, due to wrangling over who will take the roles of president, prime minister and important posts in the Cabinet.

The parties have been unable to agree on a candidate for president, a problem that may also extend to the position of prime minister.

“The continuity of the political crisis may lead the country towards dangerous mazes in which everyone will be a loser,” Mr Salih said in a statement marking the toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue in Baghdad's Firdos Square on April 9, 2003.

“All the political forces have a historical, national and ethical responsibility to close ranks through a serious and active dialogue to end the crisis.”

He called for the formation of “a national government that is able to protect the country’s interests, promote its sovereignty and independence, fulfil the aspirations of Iraqis and address challenges”.

He said there was a need to launch a process to amend the constitution through a national consensus and mutual understanding.

He also called for an end to corruption, which he said endangered the state.

Populist cleric Moqtada Al Sadr was the biggest winner in the vote on October 10, with his bloc taking 73 seats in the 329-member parliament, but his Iran-backed rivals have posed a serious challenge to his government formation efforts.

On April 1, Mr Al Sadr said he was stepping back for the next 40 days and giving his rivals the chance to form a government.

Updated: April 09, 2022, 12:04 PM