Iraqi PM designate hands plan to end political deadlock to parliament

Mustafa Al Kadhimi faces serious hurdles in forming new cabinet

An image grab from a handout video released by the Iraqi Prime Minster's Office shows Prime Minister-designate Mustafa Kadhemi addressing the Iraqi people in a televised speech in the capital Baghdad, on April 9, 2020. Iraqi President nominated 53-year-old spy chief Kadhemi on April 9 as the country's third prime minister-designate this year, moments after his predecessor ended his bid to form a government, amid a budget crisis brought on by the collapse in world oil prices and the spread of the novel coronavirus. - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO /IRAQI PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICE " - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
 / AFP / IRAQI PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICE / - / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO /IRAQI PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICE " - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

Iraq’s Prime Minister designate Mustafa Al Kadhimi has sent his government programme to Parliament in the hope of breaking the country’s political deadlock.

Earlier this month, President Barham Salih tapped Mr Al Kadhimi to lead Iraq, making him the third nominee in 10 weeks to take the position.

The country is struggling to replace a government that fell last year after months of deadly protests.

“My government programme was delivered to parliament today. The nominees for cabinet positions will follow in the days to come, and within the constitutionally mandated time frame,” Mr Al Kadhimi said on Twitter.

Parliamentarians are expected to vote on the proposed cabinet by 9th May.

Mr Al Kadhimi, a former intelligence chief supported by the west, has faced serious challenges in forming the next government.

“Long live Iraq, the Iraqi people, and our sovereign land,” he said.

Pro-Iranian parliamentary blocs withdrew their support for Mr Al Kadhimi after they reversed their initial position of non-objection towards his appointment and chosen ministers for his cabinet.

In an unprecedented move Mr Al Kadhimi indicated on Monday that he is facing serious difficulties in forming his cabinet, citing political pressures.

He urged all sides “to put the interest of Iraq above everything else”.

Mr Al Kadhimi said he would only acknowledge forces who “support the course of the state”.

The country has been a battleground of tensions between the United States and Iran.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that Iraqi leaders must put aside a sectarian quota system and make compromises to help the formation of a government.

They must also focus on building the bilateral relationship between Washington and Baghdad.

In other developments, the country tightened its coronavirus measures by extending the imposed curfew by an hour after many citizens failed to abide by the measures.

The government also imposed a 10,000 Iraqi dinar fine, 8 AED, on those who refrain from wearing masks in shops and are not adhering to social distancing regulations.

Iraq has 1,928 coronavirus cases and 90 deaths.

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