Respect people’s will, reject outside interference — Iraqi Pres.

BAGHDAD, Iraqi President Barham Saleh on Sunday called for respecting people’s will for reform and rejected any foreign interference in his country’s internal politics.

A presidency statement said Saleh met and discussed with Japanese ambassador to Iraq, Naofumi Hashimoto, the country’s stability and means of overcoming current challenges by respecting desire of the Iraqi people for reform, rejecting any foreign intervention in Iraq’s domestic political affairs.

Both parties spoke about bilateral relations and the Iraqi President praised relations with Japan, stressing on necessity of boosting them in all fields as well as benefiting from the Japanese experience for reconstruction, the official statement added.

The Iraqi President had returned to his residence at the Peace Palace in Baghdad Saturday, after a two-day visit to Sulaymaniyah Governorate, amid expectations that he would resume efforts related to assigning a new candidate to head the next government.

Last Thursday, Saleh refused to assign the Binaa bloc candidate Asaad Al-Eidani to head the new government, stressing that he preferred to resign rather than appoint a candidate rejected by the protesters.

Al-Eidani is the third candidate rejected by protesters after Parliament member Muhammad al-Sudani and Minister of Higher Education Qusay al-Suhail resigned from the government.

A new candidate is the high-ranking military commander, Abdul-Ghani Al-Asadi, who was one of the army commanders charged with liberating Mosul from the grip of the so-called Islamic State (IS).

Activists and politicians on social media shared various opinions about Al-Asadi, as some praised his positions in the liberation battles, while others criticized and accused him of loyalty to regional powers.

Iraq has witnessed unprecedented protests against the government and corruption since last October, causing major changes in the political scene.

Protests overthrew the federal government headed by Adel Abdel-Mahdi and prompted parliament to dissolve provincial councils as well as to form a new election commission from judges to pass a new election law that would end the dominance of large parties.

Source: Kuwait News Agency