Iraq’s president has named a former governor of the city of Najaf as prime minister-designate, following weeks of political infighting and a looming crisis amid a global pandemicBy SAMYA KULLAB Associated PressMarch 17, 2020, 6:57 PM5 min readBAGHDAD — Iraq’s president Tuesday named a former governor of the city of Najaf as prime minister-designate, following weeks of political infighting, as Baghdad residents rushed to stock up on supplies hours before a days-long curfew was set to take hold amid a global pandemic. Adnan al-Zurfi was appointed premier-designate by President Barham Saleh after tense meetings between rival political blocs. The meetings went on for weeks without reaching a consensus on a candidate to replace outgoing Premier Adel Abdul-Mahdi. Hours after the announcement, Iraq’s powerful Fatah parliamentary bloc rejected al-Zurfi’s candidacy signaling a rocky path to government formation for the new premier-designate. An earlier premier-designate, Mohammed Allawi, withdrew his candidacy after political groups rejected his proposed Cabinet lineup. Fatah, headed by Hadi al-Ameri, garnered the second highest number of seats in parliament in the May 2018 federal election. In a statement, the bloc accused Saleh of “disregarding” the constitution and naming al-Zurfi in the absence of political consensus. “The president of the


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