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Iraq

Nineveh to elect new governor as Mosul mourns ferry disaster

By Rudaw 15/4/2019
Iraqi women cast flowers into the Tigris River in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, March 22, 2019. File photo: Zaid Al-Obeidi / AFP
Iraqi women cast flowers into the Tigris River in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, March 22, 2019. File photo: Zaid Al-Obeidi / AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iraq’s northern province of Nineveh opened nominations on Monday to choose a new governor, weeks after the incumbent was sacked and a warrant issued for his arrest. 

Nawfal Hamadi and his two deputies were fired by the Iraqi parliament after officials and Mosul residents accused the governing team of corruption and negligence in the aftermath of the Mosul ferry disaster.

Up to 150 people were killed on March 21 when a ferry capsized on the Tigris River. It was the worst tragedy to strike the war-battered city of Mosul since it was retaken from the Islamic State group (ISIS) in 2017. 

Hamadi had a two-week window in which to file an appeal. But with no appeal forthcoming, nominations for his replacement have now opened. 

The ousted governor has not been arrested and is now thought to be in Erbil. 

“Today, the Nineveh Provincial Council opened the door to candidacy for nine days from today for the post of Mosul governor,” Saedo Chato, a Kurd who heads the provincial council, told Rudaw.

Nineveh Provincial Council predicts up to 70 candidates will run for the seat of governor. 

“The person must be from the Nineveh province, must have been involved in administrative affairs for at least 10 years, be a university graduate, and should not have a serious criminal record,” Chato said.

“The deadline [for nominations] is April 24 and whoever meets all the requirements will have his name put before a vote. The new governor will need the support of two thirds of provincial council members, meaning that of 39 members he should receive 21 votes,” he added.

A decision is yet to be made on the election of two new deputies.

Atheel Nojaifi was Nineveh governor when ISIS overran Mosul in June 2014. Like his successor, Nojafi was also sacked by the Iraqi parliament. 

Kurds and other minorities in Nineveh hope to elect a candidate who will respect their rights and address their needs.

“Of the 39 members of the Nineveh Provincial Council, nine of them are Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and three are Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), as well as two quota members from the Yezidi and Christian communities,” Barakat Shamo, head of the Brotherhood and Coexistence bloc, told Rudaw.

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