Iraq's Top Shiite Cleric Calls for PM to Be Chosen by Tuesday
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - The most influential Shiite cleric in Iraq called on the country's leaders to choose a prime minister within the next four days.
Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who commands unswerving loyalty from many Shiites in Iraq and beyond, said political blocs should agree on the next premier, parliament speaker and president before a newly elected legislature meets on Tuesday, Reuters reported.
The first session of Iraq’s newly elected parliament will be held on July 1 as the country’s armed forces step up military operations against ISIL militants.
Iraqi Vice President Khudair al-Khuzai, who also serves as the acting president a close ally of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, made the announcement on state television Thursday.
Next week’s convening of the new parliament comes as part of efforts to start the process of creating a new government.
This comes against the backdrop of mounting ISIL insurgency in the country’s restive north.
The Iraqi armed forces have stepped up military operations against the militants from the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Levant to liberate insurgent-held cities.
The ISIL militants took control of Mosul, the capital of Nineveh Province, on June 10. They later took control of the city of Tikrit, located about 140 kilometers (87 miles) northwest of Baghdad.
Iraq has been witnessing a new wave of violence fueled by the ISIL Takfiri terrorists. The militants have been operating in the Iraqi provinces of Nineveh, Diyala, Salahuddin and al-Anbar.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has said that the country’s security forces would confront the terrorists, calling the seizure of Mosul a “conspiracy.” The Iraqi prime minister has also blamed Saudi Arabia and Qatar for the security crisis and growing terrorism in his country, denouncing Riyadh as a major supporter of global terrorism.