By Research Fellow Inna Rudolf.
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Branded as a compromise candidate, Iraq’s new Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi has made a bold entrance, issuing a number of unorthodox policy proposals. But will his nomination trigger a sustained momentum before the euphory fades away?
“Now, this is a million dollar question,” was the spontaneous response of Prime Minister-designate Adil Abdul Mahdi, when I asked him in April about his forecast on the future government formation. Presciently, he pointed out the diminishing tolerance of the public for the poor governance performance of the Islamic Dawa party. Two months later, his prophetic warning came true after regular power cuts, severe water shortages and bacterial contamination triggered a wave of mass protests – predominantly across the country’s neglected Southern provinces.
In addition to costing Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi a chance for a second term, this unprecedented public discontent brought to light the grave need for an inclusive social and economic program. In Abdul Mahdi’s vision, it is to be implemented by a team of highly qualified and independent professionals. Having been appointed by President Barham Salih as the country’s new Prime Minister on October 2nd, Abdul Mahdi now carries the ‘heavy responsibility’ – as he had recently put it – of implementing his own policy recommendations. Cautious in their optimism, local and international Iraq observers and decision-makers have so far received his nomination with reserved enthusiasm.