Sadr meets Kurdish presidential nominee on govt formation, president election

Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr

Baghdad ( – Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr met on Wednesday with Kurdish politician and presidential nominee Barham Saleh in Najaf city.

“Saleh, who was chosen by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan to run for president, discussed with Sadr the latest political developments in Iraq as well as the formation of the new government,” a political source told the privately-owned Alsumaria News TV channel.

“The talks focused on the parliament’s preparations for electing a new president for the country in early October,” the source added.

Parliament speaker Mohamed al-Halbousi said on Tuesday that the parliament’s election of the new president will be held on October 2.

Halbousi’s remarks came a day after he announced that 30 candidates have applied for the largely ceremonial presidential post.

Last week, Saleh obtained approval from the head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Masud Barzani, to be the Kurdistan Region’s nominee for the presidency of Iraq.

Based on a political agreement adopted since the ouster of late leader Saddam Hussein, Kurds assume Iraq’s presidency, Sunnis are entitled to parliament speaker, and Shias hold the prime minister’s office.

Iraq parliament elections, the first since the defeat of Islamic State militants, were held last May amid judicial challenges that prompted a recount of votes. The parliament elected Mohamed al-Halbousi, a former governor of Anbar, as its new speaker earlier this week.

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