Serious challenges on the table for the next Iraqi Prime Minister

Written by – Elijah J. Magnier:

The Iraqis, along with people in regional and international countries, are awaiting results of the elections in Mesopotamia due this Sunday, the 10th of October, prepared to face severe and complex challenges. These start with the selection of a new prime minister, who will need to tackle security and counter-terrorism issues, the critical economic situation and deficit, and US withdrawal expected by the end of the year. Moreover, the new Prime Minister will need to balance the problematic relationship between Iran and the US on Iraqi soil and establish the good relations that Baghdad seeks with all neighbouring countries.

Although it is likely that many political parties may challenge the results of Sunday’s election, such a challenge may not arise if the most powerful political parties have their usual political role in the forthcoming government, albeit with fewer seats than before. There are no new severe challenges to any political parties but that of Sayyed Moqtada al-Sadr. This constitutes a dilemma for the religious authority in Najaf, which relies on people to elect new faces to challenge the powerful, dominant parties. This is unlikely because new parliamentary faces are not expected to have much weight in themselves in the new parliament.

On the eve of the elections, the supreme Shiite authority in Najaf, Sayyed Ali al-Sistani, issued a statement urging every Iraqi to participate in the polls, speaking of the necessity of electing only a deserving candidate with an uncorrupted reputation. Sayyed Sistani’s wishes might be called an “electoral jihad fatwa,” comparable to the “Jihad Kifaei”. The “Kifaei’s Fatwa” was issued in response to the ISIS occupation of northern Iraq in 2014, which led to the creation of the “Popular Mobilisation Forces” at the time.

The “Fatwa of reforms and changes” is considered fiercer than the battle against ISIS in the eyes of Sayyed Sistani. The Marja’, Grand Ayatollah Sistani, believes that voters must search for an “honest candidate” to raise Iraq’s capability to face the following challenges, which constitute a significant burden for Iraq. The Najaf-based Grand Ayatollah holds that this electoral opportunity is essential to “bring about real change” and remove ” old and habitually corrupt candidates”. Sayyed Sistani believes “the path of reform is possible” and that there is “hope that must be exploited to remove the incompetent” from ruling Iraq.

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Proofread by: B.C and Maurice Brasher

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