Iraq’s Prime Minister-designate Adnan Al-Zurfi announced on Saturday that he has formed his government ahead of the constitutional deadline of 17 April.
He also presented his proposed government programme to the Iraqi parliament.
According to Al-Zurfi, his cabinet is made up of “intellectuals from inside Iraq.” He added that he is now waiting for the parliament to schedule a date to debate his choice of cabinet colleagues.
Meanwhile, eight factions in the Iran-backed Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) issued a joint statement announcing their rejection of what they described as the “American Intelligence candidate” for Prime Minister. This was a clear reference to Al-Zurfi.
The statement has been described as a “dangerous escalation” by the pro-Iranian factions. It was released just days after a visit to Iraq by the new commander of Iran’s Quds Force, Ismail Qaani.
Last Monday, Qaani visited Baghdad in a bid to unite Iraq’s political leaders over the Prime Minister-designate. Iran fears that the Shia-Shia dispute over the position could result in the appointment of a candidate who is outside its circle of influence.