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Iraq court bars Kurdish candidate Zebari from running for presidency

February 13, 2022 at 12:42 pm

Iraqi Presidential candidate Hoshyar Zebari holds a press conference after his candidacy was vetoed by The Federal Supreme Court of Iraq in Baghdad, Iraq on February 13, 2022 [Murtadha Al-Sudani / Anadolu Agency]

Iraq’s Supreme Federal Court has ruled that former foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari is not eligible to run for the presidency amid corruption allegations, Reuters quoted the state news agency as reporting on Sunday.

Zebari, a prominent Kurdish politician who served as Iraq’s foreign minister for more than a decade, was finance minister when he was sacked by parliament in 2016 over alleged corruption. He denied the accusations and said they are politically motivated.

The court on Sunday said parliament’s decision to accept Zebari’s presidential bid was incorrect and it also barred him from running for the post in the future, the agency said.

The ruling was the court’s final decision after it issued an initial ruling last Sunday suspending Zebari’s candidacy while it looked into the corruption allegations.

Read: The struggle for power between the ruling families in Iraq

Earlier this month, four parliamentarians filed a petition to the federal court demanding Zebari’s exclusion from the presidential race, accusing him of financial and administrative corruption.

Zebari, who was one of 25 presidential candidates, had high chances of winning the parliamentary vote to be president before the corruption allegations surfaced again.

Iraq’s parliament had been due to vote on a new head of state last Monday but cancelled the vote because it lacked the quorum to hold a session after many lawmakers said they would boycott it after the Supreme Federal Court suspended Zebari’s candidacy.