Iraqi parliament fails to elect new president for third time

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Iraqi parliament on Wednesday failed for a third time to select a new president due to a lack of quorum, prolonging the political paralysis in the war-scarred country.

The parliament’s press service said the session adjourned its season until further notice.

Esta Media Network reporter in Baghdad said only 150 out of 329 lawmakers the session, far short of the two-thirds quorum required for the vote.

It was the third time that the parliament could not hold the session due to a lack of quorum.

Lawmakers must first elect the head of state, by convention a member of the Kurdish minority, with a two thirds majority. The president then appoints the prime minister, a post now held by Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

Among the 40 candidates for the presidency, two are considered the frontrunners: incumbent Barham Salih, of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), and Rebar Ahmed of the rival Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).

Iraq’s federal court has given MPs until April 6 to choose a new president. If that deadline is missed, said political scientist Hamza Haddad, “we could reach a point where new elections are decided to break the deadlock”.

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