World Iran-backed bloc appoints Basra governor for Iraqi prime minister

Iran-backed bloc appoints Basra governor for Iraqi prime minister

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Hours after their nomination, protesters went to the streets of several provinces in southern Iraq, including Basra and the Shia holy cities of Karbala and Najaf. Protesters rejected al-Eidani's nomination, saying they want an independent figure for the position.

In Karbala, shots were heard in the city, but the cause was not immediately clear, local officials said.

According to the two officials, President Barham Saleh received a memorandum from parliament that said the block backed by Iran is the largest in the House and, therefore, has the right to nominate the next prime minister. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity under the regulations.

Earlier on Wednesday, outgoing higher education minister Qusay al-Suhail, who had also been rejected by street protesters, withdrew his nomination for prime minister.

The pressure of the demonstrations led Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi to announce his resignation at the end of last month. That was after the most powerful religious authority in Iraq, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, withdrew support from the Abdul-Mahdi government.

A deadline for appointing a new prime minister has been lost twice because of disagreements about which is the largest block in parliament after last year's elections.

There are currently two main blocks: Sairoon, led by Shiite populist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, and Fatah, headed by Hadi al-Amiri. But the numbers in the blocks have continued to change since last year's elections, with an unknown number of legislators who abandoned some blocks and joined others.

Last Saturday, the Federal Supreme Court of Iraq provided guidance in a statement, but failed to name the largest block. He said the decision should be based on the first session of Parliament after taking office last year. But the court also said it would accept if two or more lists had merged to become the largest block.

On the same day, President Saleh sent the court's response to parliament, asking the legislature to say which is the largest block.

Meanwhile, in the southern city of Diwaniyah, an activist who was injured last week in a bomb attack died from his injuries Tuesday night. Following the news of his death, protesters attacked some offices of Iran-backed political parties in the city.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed.

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