Iraqi parties debate PM candidates, already rejected by the street

Baghdad, Dec 18 (AFP/APP): The day before the deadline to designate a new Iraqi prime minister, political parties were wrangling Wednesday over three candidates: all insiders and all rejected by a months-old anti-government protest movement.

President Barham Saleh has until midnight Thursday to appoint a replacement for outgoing premier Adel Abdel Mahdi, who resigned after two months of unprecedented demonstrations that have rocked the capital Baghdad and Shiite-majority south.

The protests continue to push for the overhaul of the political system in place since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, defying violence that has left around 460 dead and 25,000 wounded.

As candidates’ names were leaked in recent weeks, giant posters of them with their faces crossed out in red quickly appeared in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, epicentre of the protests since October 1.

On Wednesday, three names appeared to remain on the table after many meetings of party heads and other leaders of parliamentary groups.

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