Iraqi court says Barham Salih can continue in his position until new president is selected
Iraq’s federal court said on Sunday President Barham Salih will continue to carry out his duties until the selection of a new president.

The court said in its decision that Salih can continue in his position until a new president will be selected by the Council of Representatives.

The decision came after Salih asked the court to clarify article 72 of Iraqi constitution, which hasn’t indicated solution for the issue of the presidency in the event if the parliament fails to select a new president.

On February 7, the Iraqi parliament failed to select a new president after major parties boycotted the session following the suspension of Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) candidate Hoshyar Zebari from presidential race.

Zebari’s suspension came after a lawsuit filed by two lawmakers accused him of years-long corruption.

Earlier on Sunday, the federal court ruled to reject the nomination of Zebari as candidate for the position of the president.

The court said in a statement it has reached a verdict that Zebari cannot run for president following a hearing on a complaint filed against the candidate by MPs Ali Turki Jesum, Dilan Ghafur Salih, Karwan Ali Yarwais and Karim Shakur.

Zebari was removed from his position as the Iraqi Minister of Finance in 2016 over charges of financial and administrative corruption.

The supreme court temporarily suspended his candidacy on February 6 pending a court ruling, due to his past corruption charges.

Zebari said in a press conference following the court’s ruling on Sunday that he was innocent in court, calling the verdict "unfair.”

He stated he has worked to serve the country with "justice and purity” and said the court’s decision was related to politics, adding the KDP has no other candidate for the presidency.

The court verdict is final and cannot be appealed.

The Iraqi parliament reopened the door for presidential candidates on Wednesday, saying it would last for a period of three days.

Expert Ali al-Tamimi denounced the announcement as “unconstitutional”, saying that the legal deadline set to elect a president “cannot be broken, except by a decision from the Federal Court or an amendment of the law”, according to AFP.

In multi-confessional and multi-ethnic Iraq, the formation of governments has involved complex negotiations ever since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion toppled dictator Saddam Hussein.

Under an arrangement since 2006, a Kurd is elected for Iraq’s presidency, while a Sunni heads parliament, and a Shia takes the prime minister position.

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