Despite internal division, Coordination Framework mostly agrees to support Al-Issawi for Parliament Speaker

Despite internal division, Coordination Framework mostly agrees to support Al-Issawi for Parliament Speaker

Shafaq News / The Coordination Framework, which brings together Shiite political forces, revealed on Monday a division within its ranks regarding the support for candidates for the presidency of the Council of Representatives, pointing out the candidate most likely to assume the position based on the support from the majority of the Coordination Framework's members.

Abu Mithaq al-Masari, a leader in the Framework, told Shafaq News Agency, "The division remains evident within the ranks of the Coordination Framework regarding the support for a specific candidate for the presidency of the Council of Representatives. However, the majority of the Framework supports Salem al-Issawi to be the Speaker of the Parliament, with some factions leaning towards supporting Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, but the majority are with al-Issawi."

He further stated, "Al-Issawi's chances are higher to be elected as Speaker during the session next Saturday, as the parliamentary majority is with him. We expect the second round to be decisive in favor of Salem al-Issawi."

Al-Musawi added, "The Framework was expecting Sunni consensus on supporting one candidate for the presidency of the Council of Representatives, but this consensus was not achieved. This will lead the Coordination Framework's deputies to vote for any of the candidates according to their interests. The majority of the Framework's deputies support al-Issawi, and therefore his election will likely take place during the Saturday session."

The Iraqi Parliament has set next Saturday as the date for electing its new president.

The media office of the Iraqi Parliament announced that the Presidency of the Council decided to hold a session on Saturday, May 18, 2024, to elect the Speaker of the Parliament.

A political source revealed that the Taqadum alliance and Al-Sadara bloc have declared Mahmoud Al-Mashhadani as their candidate for the presidency of the Iraqi Parliament.

Al-Mashhadani, 75 years old, previously served as the Speaker of the Iraqi Council of Representatives from 2006 to 2009.

The source told Shafaq News Agency that the nomination received support from Al-Halbousi, leading to the withdrawal of Talal Al-Zobaie, leaving Al-Mashhadani as the sole candidate to face Salem Al-Issawi. 

Late on Sunday night, the parliamentary Al-Sadara bloc announced its alignment with the Taqadum alliance led by Mohammed Al-Halbousi, a decision aimed at fielding a candidate for the presidency of the Iraqi parliament.

Notably, Al-Sadara bloc comprises four deputies: Mahmoud Al-Mashhadani, Talal Al-Zobaie, Khalid Al-Obaidi, and Mohammed Nouri Abdu-Rabeh.

Al-Sadara stated that their decision came "based on our confidence that Taqadum holds the parliamentary majority representing our liberated governorates, following several meetings resulting in mutual understandings, including the preservation of the political identity and legal entity of Al-Sadara bloc."

A well-informed political source informed Shafaq News Agency on Saturday evening that members of Al-Sadara held a meeting with Al-Halbousi to finalize the nomination of a single candidate from among them, either Mahmoud Al-Mashhadani or Talal Al-Zobaie, for the presidency of the parliament.

Despite the extension of the first legislative session of the Council - which ended yesterday - for an additional thirty days, disputes between Sunni factions and differing viewpoints among leaders of the Shiite blocs under the "Coordination Framework" intensify regarding the nominated candidates for the position and who will ultimately wield the parliamentary gavel.

The position of the Speaker of the House belongs to the Sunni component according to the prevalent political tradition in Iraq since the formation of the political system after 2003. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister's position is held by Shiites, and the President of the Republic is reserved for the Kurds.

It is noteworthy that three Sunni candidates are currently vying for the position: Salem Al-Issawi who received 97 votes during the first session held last January, Mahmoud Al-Mashhadani who garnered 48 votes, and Talal Al-Zobaie who received one vote.

On November 14, 2023, the Federal Supreme Court, the highest judicial authority in Iraq, decided to end the membership of Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi. Then, the Iraqi Parliament officially terminated his membership on November 21, 2023.

On January 13, the Iraqi Parliament held an extraordinary session to choose the new Speaker. The first round of voting ended with the victory of the "Taqaddum" party's Shaalan al-Karim with 152 votes out of 314. MP Salem Al-Issawi followed him with 97 votes, MP Mahmoud Al-Mashhadani with 48 votes, MP Amer Abduljabbar with six votes, and MP Talal Al-Zobaie with one vote.

However, due to verbal altercations inside the council hall, the session was adjourned without completing the election process, and no other session was held.

Since then, the political blocs have been unable to agree on a replacement for him, with each side wanting to nominate someone from their group.

Despite al-Halbousi's Taqaddum Party insists on retaining the position because it holds the parliamentary majority within the Sunni component, his opponents from the Sovereignty (Al-Siyada), al-Azm, and Resolve (Al-Hasm) blocs believe that the position is the right of the component without being bound by a specific political title.

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