Iraq's largest Sunni coalition selects nominee for Parliamentary Speaker
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The largest Sunni alliance on Monday declared they had selected their candidate for the position of Parliamentary Speaker as talks over the formation of a new Iraqi government come close to the end.
The Sunni-led Coalition of Iraqi Forces—which won 37 seats in the May 12 election—has agreed “unanimously on the nomination of lawmaker Mohamed Rikan al-Halbousi as the candidate from the Coalition of Iraqi Forces, within the National Axis Alliance, for the presidency of parliament,” read the statement issued at the tail end of the meeting between members of the coalition.
The coalition’s nominee to lead lawmakers in Baghdad, Halbousi, is a 36-year-old engineer from the predominantly Sunni province of Anbar in western Iraq.
He will be the youngest person in Iraq’s history to become speaker if he is elected during the first session of parliament which has to be held before Sep. 03, 15 days after the Supreme Court’s ratification of the final results of the May 12 election.
Halbousi is the incumbent governor of Anbar Province and a member of the al-Hal block, led by businessman Jamal Karbouli.
The National Axis Alliance, of which the Coalition of Iraqi Forces is a part, is led by Khamis al-Khanjar and holds a combined total of 53 seats out of a possible 329 in Parliament.
No list decisively won the Iraqi national elections and required parties and coalitions to forge alliances to attain the 165 seats needed to reach majority and form a government.
Following an unofficial power-sharing tradition in Iraq, the prime minister must be Shia, the president a Kurd, while the speaker must be Sunni. The custom has, on multiple occasions, been criticized by Qais al-Khazali, leader of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq faction in the Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi.
Editing by Nadia Riva