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17 March 2020 Iraq’s President appoints Adnan al-Zurfi as new PM-designate to end political deadlock

Iraq’s President Barham Salih appointed Adnan al-Zurfi, a member of the Nasr alliance, as new Prime Minister-designate on 17 March, following Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi’s failure to form a new government. The newly appointed Prime Minister served as governor of Najaf and was an official of the US-run authority that took over Iraq after the 2003 invasion that ousted former ruler Saddam Hussein. He is tasked with forming a new government within 30 days, as per the constitution, in an effort to resolve months of political deadlock. Former Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi resigned in December 2019 after weeks of anti-government mass protests over corruption, unemployment and poor public services. The government faced demonstrators with brutal repression, causing  hundreds of casualties and injuring thousands. Iraq is also currently facing a difficult time due to collapsing oil prices and the novel coronavirus outbreak.