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Iraq faces political deadlock after ‘West-friendly’ candidate suspended

But a bid to crown his political career with a run for the presidency faced a major hurdle last week when Iraq’s federal court suspended his candidacy due to past corruption charges, causing an election delay that risks exacerbating existing factional divisions.

The presidential election was indefinitely postponed on Monday, stalling the already delayed formation of a new government. The results of October’s parliamentary vote, in which pro-Iran factions were dealt a significant loss, were only confirmed in December due to political bickering over the results. A new president would be tasked with asking the winning bloc to form a government.

The suspension was a blow to the ambitions of Zebari’s key backer Moqtada al-Sadr, the populist Shiite Muslim cleric who has emerged as a kingmaker and is bent on pushing through a government that excludes his pro-Iran Shiite rivals.

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