Public reactions to political standoff in Iraq

"A lot is going on behind the scenes we do not understand, which makes me feel insecure."
Iraq's parliament hall, July 1, 2021. (Photo: Iraqi Parliament/Twitter)
Iraq's parliament hall, July 1, 2021. (Photo: Iraqi Parliament/Twitter)

The present political standoff in Iraq comes to the dismay of a public enduring a harsh winter.

The Iraqi parliament was scheduled to elect a new president. However, the suspension of the Kurdistan Democratic Party's (KDP) presidential candidate, Hoshyar Zebari, seems to have delayed the process. The absence of a new president means more delays in forming a new government since the president of Iraq is constitutionally mandated to task the parliament's largest bloc with choosing a prime minister and forming a new government.

"All these games and scenarios create doubts in me," said Karam Mahmoud, a local from Mosul residing in Erbil. "We are tired of these political issues. What we need are good services."

Zebari said that he respects the decision of the Iraqi Federal Court to temporarily suspend his candidacy.

"We trust that the judiciary will confirm what state institutions have confirmed in advance that we have fulfilled the conditions for candidacy," he said.

His candidacy has been suspended due to a lawsuit submitted in the court against Zebari by members of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), who support the incumbent Iraqi President Barham Salih and want him reelected.

Read More: Iraqi parliament to convene following boycott from major blocs

Zebari served as Iraq's foreign minister for close to nine years and was then finance minister for about two years in 2014 before parliament dismissed him in a no-confidence vote based on corruption allegations that the veteran politician said were fabricated. The charges against him were later dropped.

What is missing from this political impasse is the voice of the public. People are not happy, and they want a quick solution.

"A lot is going on behind the scenes we do not understand, which makes me feel insecure," said Jabir Ali, a local from Baghdad residing in Erbil. "So many daily jobs in the ministries are suspended due to the lack of government. The sooner they come up with a solution, the better."

On Sunday, the KDP said that its lawmakers would not be attending the Iraqi parliamentary session scheduled for Monday during the vote for the country's next president.

The announcement comes after the KDP's allies in the legislature – the Sunni Sovereignty Alliance led by Khamis al-Khanjar and the Sadrist Movement of Muqtada al-Sadr – similarly stated they are boycotting Monday's session.

The majority of seats are in parliament are currently controlled by the KDP, the Sunnis, and the Sadrists, which, altogether, won more than half of the seats in the 329-seat national assembly in the October elections.

People like Ali and Mahmoud do not care who wins and who loses. What they care about is a safe and secure life.

"I want to see a better Iraq, filled with happiness and better public services, "Mahmoud said.

"Whoever becomes the president or prime minister must serve his country in the best way possible."