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Adnan al-Zurfi named new prime minister of Iraq

By Don Jacobson
Adnan al-Zurfi named new prime minister of Iraq
Activists protest at a demonstration at Tahrir Square in Baghdad, Iraq, on March 1. Photo by Ahmed Jalil/EPA-EFE

March 17 (UPI) -- Iraqi President Barham Salih appointed veteran politician Adnan al-Zurfi as prime minister Tuesday and tasked him with forming a new government.

Salih revealed his choice of al-Zurfi in a series of Twitter posts, with hopes he can solve Iraq's long-running political crisis brought on by months of mass protests.

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Al-Zurfi, a former official of the coalition that took over after the 2003 U.S. invasion, belongs to a parliamentary group led by prominent U.S. ally and former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

Al-Zurfi has 30 days to form a new government, having taken over for former Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi after his resignation in October. He departed amid large protests that denounced corruption and dire living conditions.

Abdul-Mahdi had remained in the post after Salih's first choice for prime minister, Mohammed Allawi, withdrew this month after lawmakers disagreed with his cabinet choices.

Demonstrators in Baghdad's Tahrir Square rejected al-Zurfi on Tuesday, dismissing him as a part of Iraq's "corrupt establishment."

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