Khamis al-Khanjar on the hunt for al-Halboosi's "Achilles' heel" in the upcoming election

Khamis al-Khanjar on the hunt for al-Halboosi's "Achilles' heel" in the upcoming election

Shafaq News / In the upcoming October 10th elections, the Secretary-General of the Arab Project Khamis Al-Khanjar will be in the spotlight of the public and direct political battle, this time through the al-Azm Alliance, which represents a difficult test for him and his supporters. In this session, al-Khanjar seeking to form the largest bloc and win the presidency of parliament.

It is no secret to say that al-Khanjar was in a state of direct and indirect political conflict in the past phase, with the current speaker of parliament, Mohammed al-Halboosi, leader of the Takadum Party. Therefore, the repercussions of the upcoming electoral clash will be nearly impossible to predict on the political scene in general and the Sunni scene in particular.

So, suppose Khamis al-Khanjar happens to win this electoral conflict. In that case, the doors of official political action will be dismantled for him through state structures, after his activity in the previous phase was characterized by informal and indirect political action.

The battle of Khamis al-Khanjar will be one of the most interesting electoral confrontations, not because it relates to political rivalry between the two men, but because it will have direct implications for the position of the presidency of parliament, one of the three main positions in the structure of the Iraqi state, besides the positions of the presidencies of the Republic and the government.

Khamis al-Khanjar does not seem to be an easy opponent due to his influence inside and outside Iraq, his ability to address potential voters, his financial capabilities, his controversial name outside Iraq, and his apparent activity in electoral constituencies. Furthermore, recent reports have suggested a disagreement between al-Khanjar and al-Halboosi, to the point where they exchanged text messages, vowing to crush each other.

"I invite you to participate extensively in the elections to prevent the corrupt from winning," al-Khanjar said, opening an electoral festival in the Khalidiya area. A day later, he tweeted to mark the anniversary of Hussein's revolution, "It is a school of justice and an approach to resisting oppressors; we must follow this approach of standing with the displaced in the camps, with the families of the forcibly disappeared, and with every oppressed person."

Terms such as counterfeiters appear as a political weapon he used to launch a battle against his main opponent. While his reference to the families of the forcibly disappeared was to target his opponents, whom he accuses of negligence and failure to fulfill their commitments to address the problems of their voters in the past years.

So, for Khamis al-Khanjar, who was suddenly listed by the U.S. Treasury Department in late 2019 on a corruption indictment, the upcoming elections required him to adopt mechanisms for selecting candidates known and popular in their regions.

To that end, the al-Azm Alliance is running in the elections after pushing 128 candidates across six governorates in the upcoming elections in the hope of reaching the presidency of parliament.

Former Electricity Minister and Al-Anbar provincial candidate Qassim Al-Fahdawi told Shafaq News agency, "The al-Azem Alliance will achieve great results, as it had benefited from rival party's mistakes," explaining, "Work had been done to invest the mistakes of the Takadum Alliance that runs the local government to strengthen the position of the al-Azm candidates and bring them closer to the voters."

Al-Fahdawi said data indicate that the al-Azm Alliance could win eight seats in Al-Anbar alone, not to mention the rest of the governorates that will achieve very optimistic results that could pave the way for the contest for the presidency of parliament.

On possible strategic alliances, Al-Fahdawi said that it is early to predict the surprises that the ballot boxes might reveal.

Regarding the possibility of renewing Mustafa al-Kadhimi's mandate, he commented, "The al-Azm Alliance's relation with Mustafa al-Kadhimi is very good, and we believe that he is taking good steps. However, his mandate's renewal depends on his efforts to ensure the integrity of the elections, i.e., if he takes bold steps and holds accountable those who try to falsify and close the doors of fraud seriously," calling on al-Kadhimi to act with the security services firmly so that he does not support one party at the expense of the other.

"According to our information, these measures have been initiated by al-Kadhimi, and if we witness more seriousness in this, it is okay to extend the mandate," he added.

"It is impossible to think about reaching the presidency of the Republic as the Kurds would not allow it. The same applies to the Shiite component and the presidency of the government. Therefore, our Alliance's only concern remains to reach the presidency of parliament," Al-Fahdawi continued.

About nominating their candidate to succeed al-Halboosi if their alliance wins, he stated, "The al-Azm Alliance has great political figures, and they all deserve the office. Also, we believe that the presidency of parliament will fulfill the aspirations of our voters."

The al-Azm Alliance comprises political parties, all of which come from liberated governorates, and has prioritized in its governmental program to return Jurf Sakhar's displaced people to their areas with the start of the second phase of the campaign to rebuild the affected areas inside Jurf Sakhar as well as the rest of the liberated areas.

For his part, candidate Iyad Al-Jubouri said that the new electoral law, which divided the regions into constituencies that attract candidates per their affiliation or regional representation, is unfair because it restricted the candidate within a narrow geographical extension, while the previous law allowed voters to choose their candidate even if he is not in their constituency, noting that the MP's legislative functions are focused on serving all citizens of his country.

Al-Jubouri said that there are "vague objectives" behind the new "foul" electoral law, adding that he believed it was aimed at undermining successful candidates close to their voters, especially if they were divided into several cities and governorates, "In this sense, this law serves only influential parties."

"The al-Azm Alliance aspires to form the largest bloc, as well as to nominate a candidate for parliament," he said, adding, "Our supporters are ready to vote for us after witnessing our seriousness about implementing projects that are in the interest of the citizen."

He also pointed, "Our strongholds, in which we will win the majority of votes, will be in Al-Anbar, Baghdad, and Nineveh." 

Al-Jubouri called on the PM to emphasize candidates in critical executive positions by submitting their resignations to prevent public money and influence in electoral propaganda. 

An informed source told Shafaq News agency that the al-Azm Alliance's leader granted his candidates large financial allocations to implement their electoral programs and promote the Alliance by implementing development projects, particularly in Al-Anbar and Nineveh. Those projects included the reconstruction of houses destroyed by bombardment during the liberation operations, as well as a pledge to reactivate the role of the Sahwa (Sons of Iraq factions) in those areas and increase financial and logistical allocations to them to perform their role in supporting security forces that secure polling stations during the upcoming elections.

The source did not rule out a meeting of the leaders of the Takadum Alliance and the al-Azm Alliance in Al-Halboosi's house to agree on the mechanism of forming the Sunni bloc after the announcement of the results of the elections, especially since joint parties between the two alliances recognize loyalty to both sides.

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