Iraq Supreme Court Temporarily Suspends Zebari’s Presidential Offer | News

According to the Supreme Court, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs does not meet the requirements that the head of state must have ‘a good reputation and integrity’.

Iraq’s federal court has temporarily suspended Hoshyar Zebari’s presidential bid over corruption charges against the former foreign minister, a day before parliament was due to vote on the position.

The Supreme Court said on Sunday it had received a complaint from lawmakers that Zebari’s candidacy was “unconstitutional” over corruption claims dating back to 2016, adding that his suspension was “temporary” while the court considers the case.

Zebari, 68, is one of the top two contenders for the largely ceremonial position, which the 329-member parliament was expected to vote for on Monday.

The other favorite candidate is the incumbent Barham Saleh.

Iraq’s highest court said the complainants believe that Zebari does not meet constitutional requirements that the head of state must be “in good repute and integrity”.

The court cited his resignation in 2016 from the post of finance minister by parliament “on allegations of financial and administrative corruption”.

Public funds worth $1.8 million were reportedly diverted to pay for airline tickets for his personal security details.

The complaint also cited at least two other lawsuits linked to him, including when he served as the country’s longtime foreign secretary after the fall of leader Saddam Hussein during the US-led invasion of 2003.

Zebari has always denied all allegations of corruption.

Turbulent politics

The court’s ruling is the latest chapter in Iraq’s turbulent and divisive politics.

The planned presidential election follows October’s parliamentary elections, which were marred by record low turnout, threats and post-election violence, and a delay until final results were confirmed at the end of December.

The largest bloc in the Iraqi parliament, led by powerful Shia religious leader Moqtada Sadr, announced on Saturday a boycott of Monday’s parliamentary session to elect the new president.

The bloc’s parliamentary chief Hassan al-Izari said at a news conference that they will not be attending, making a vote less likely, although technically a quorum could be reached.

The presidency, with a four-year mandate, is held by a convention by a member of the Kurdish minority in Iraq. Zebari is the candidate of the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP).

Zebari comes from a large Kurdish tribe and fought as a Kurdish Peshmerga against Saddam’s government.

After Saddam’s overthrow, he served an uninterrupted term from 2003-2014 as foreign minister before taking up the financial portfolio from which he was fired.

“I have not been convicted by any court,” Zebari said in a televised interview on Friday night, as allegations resurfaced alongside predictions that he killed Saleh, the candidate of KDP’s rival in Iraqi Kurdistan, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). ), would be relieved.

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