Mohammed Rikan al-Halbousi is the National Axis Alliance's choice for Iraq's next speaker of parliament. Photo: Halbousi FB
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The largest Sunni bloc selected former Anbar Governor Mohammed al-Halbousi as their choice to the post of speaker in Iraq’s next parliament.
National Axis Alliance spokesperson Laith al-Dilamyy announced “the nomination of the only candidate for the speaker of the Council of Representatives within the biggest Sunni bloc in terms of numbers, numbering up to more than 50 MPs, Mr. Mohammed al-Halbousi for the Speaker of Iraq's Council of Representatives in its fourth term.”
The former governor of Anbar province’s official nomination will be at 4 p.m. at Rasheed Hotel in Baghdad “in the presence of all the MPs of the National Axis.”
He is 37 years old. He was elected Governor of Anbar in August 2017 by the provincial council, a position he relinquished when he was sworn in as an Iraqi MP on September 3.
Sunnis performed poorly in Iraq’s parliamentary election held on May 12. Some 2 million Iraqis were displaced when the vote was held. Many of the displaced came from Sunni stronghold provinces like Nineveh, Kirkuk, Diyala, Saladin, and Anbar.
After the disputed vote was manually recounted in mid-August, a group of prominent Sunni politicians formed the alliance.
The group reportedly split last week and were at an impasse in negotiations with other parties.
Two Shiite blocs claimed to have a majority when the new parliament first convened on September 3; however, a list of 165 signatures (an absolute parliamentary majority) was not given to the pro tem speaker.
The parliament will reconvene its session on Saturday to elect a new speaker and two deputies. The two major Shiite blocs will need to curry the favor of Sunnis and/or Kurdistani parties to reach a majority. Each hold about 50 seats if united.
Traditionally the post of parliament speaker has gone to a Sunni. The previous speaker, Salim al-Jabouri, has complained that the legislature had little power because the federal government is dominated by Shiite party members.