Iraq’s PM-designate vows to prepare free, fair elections within a year

TEHRAN, Mar. 18 (MNA) – Adnan al-Zurfi, who has been designated by President Barham Salih as Iraq’s prime minister, says his top priority is to set the stage for the holding of free and untainted parliamentary elections within a year from forming the next government.

The Iraqi prime minister-designate said in a statement released on state media following his meeting with Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbusi that he would make sure free and transparent elections would take place within that time span — a key demand of Iraqi protesters.

Iraqis have been staging street protests in several cities over corruption, unemployment, and shortage of basic services, calling for early polls, according to PressTV.

Under him as prime minister, Baghdad will be pursuing an “Iraq First” foreign policy, which also highlights openness towards neighboring states.

The foreign policy agenda will also require Baghdad to stay away from regional and international conflicts that could turn Iraq into an arena for settling scores.

Zurfi also promised protection for public protesters and activists, and said those targeting protesters would face prosecution.

The PM-designate also insisted that the possession of all arms would have to be confined to the government.

He said his administration would be confronting any acts of armed aggression.

Zurfi has now 30 days to pull together a government and needs to win the confidence of Iraq’s parliament for his new cabinet.

MNA/PR

News Code 156856

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