Key candidate withdraws from Iraqi Parliament Speaker race

With al-Karim's departure, the path seems clearer for Salim Al Issawi, the candidate backed by the Sovereignty Alliance, to ascend to the position of speaker of parliament.
An Iraqi Parliament session. (Photo: Archive)
An Iraqi Parliament session. (Photo: Archive)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) - In a dramatic turn of events, Shaalan al-Karim, the leading candidate from Mohammed al-Halbousi's Progress Party, has announced his withdrawal from the race for the presidency of the Iraqi parliament. This unexpected move has injected fresh uncertainty into an already tense political arena.

Al-Karim's decision not only reshapes the dynamics of the speaker race but also signifies a significant shift within the Progress Party itself. Departing from both his candidacy and the party coalition, al-Karim declared his intention to continue serving as an independent Member of Parliament.

The withdrawal comes amidst mounting tensions and accusations, as supporters of the Progress Party and al-Halbousi launch a media campaign against al-Karim, alleging collusion with Shiite parties. This internal strife underscores the broader struggle within the Sunni community to assert its influence in Iraqi politics.

With al-Karim's departure, the path seems clearer for Salim Al Issawi, the candidate backed by the Sovereignty Alliance, to ascend to the position of speaker of parliament. However, the Progress Party retains its steadfast stance, refusing to yield control of the post without a fight.

This development follows Mohammed al-Halbousi's removal from the presidency of the Iraqi parliament last November, amid a contentious speaker election where al-Karim secured 152 votes in the first round, while Saleem Isawi of the Sovereignty Alliance received 97 votes.

As the Sunni factions remain deadlocked over the next speaker of parliament, tensions escalate, with no resolution in sight. The struggle for political supremacy within the Sunni community continues unabated, shaping the future trajectory of Iraqi governance.

The Iraqi political landscape has been marked by ongoing tensions and power struggles, particularly within the Sunni community vying for influential positions. The role of Speaker of the Parliament holds significant sway, reflecting broader dynamics within the country's political framework.

In recent months, the Progress Party, led by Mohammed al-Halbousi, has been at the forefront of the race for the coveted position, facing stiff competition from other Sunni factions such as the Sovereignty Alliance, under the leadership of Khamis al-Khanjar.