Iraq appoints third PM-designate, after second withdraws

U.S. & World

People sit near shops that are shuttered to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus during a curfew at a nearly empty popular market in the eastern suburb of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, April 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq’s intelligence chief has been appointed the country’s third prime minister-designate in just over a month.

The appointment comes after the resignation of the most recent candidate Thursday amid political infighting. The upheaval threatened a leadership vacuum at the helm of the government amid a severe economic crisis and viral pandemic. Adnan Al-Zurfi’s candidacy was imperiled in the past 48 hours when key Shiite parties rallied around Iraq’s intelligence head, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, to replace him.

Kadhimi’s chances were further diminished when the main Kurdish and Sunni blocs withdrew support for his candidacy. Iraq’s president appointed Kadhimi, 53, as prime minister-designate shortly after Al-Zurfi’s resignation. 

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