Aug 10, 2018

Uncertainty reigns three months after Iraq's election

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (R) with Moqtada al-Sadr. Photo: Haidar Hamdani/AFP/Getty

Nearly three months since Iraqis went to the polls to cast their ballots in a parliamentary election, a new government is yet to be announced — and the wait might be long.

Where things stand: With no party or bloc able to secure an outright majority in the May 12 vote, political leaders in the country began negotiations over the formation of a governing coalition.The process, however, has been put on hold due to a manual recount of votes that was called on in June following allegations of rigging. As soon as the final results are announced, the blocs will begin scrambling to announce their coalition partners.

  • Uncertainty persists, however, as the two Shia blocs that won the most parliamentary seats in the initial count — the Sairoon Alliance led by Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr and the Fateh bloc led by Hadi al-Amiri — remain at loggerheads.
  • On June 13, Sadr, who opposes Iranian involvement in Iraq, and al-Amiri announced a surprise alliance. But speaking to Al Jazeera, Fateh's spokesperson Ahmed al-Assadi denied that an official partnership with Sairoon had been forged.
  • Analysts say this lack of unity now places the ball in the court of Sunni and Kurdish parties. The decision by these parties over which of the two opposing Shia fronts to join will be crucial in the formation of the majority bloc — and the eventual naming of the country's next prime minister.

Go deeper: Read the full Al Jazeera report.

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Coronavirus updates: New global case numbers surpass China's

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,800 people and infected over 82,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. As Denmark and Estonia reported their first cases Thursday, Scott Morrison, prime minister of Australia — which has 23 confirmed infections — told a news conference, "The risk of a global pandemic is very much upon us."

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Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in 2012. Photo: John Gress/Corbis via Getty Images

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Details: All of the victims worked at the brewery complex, as did the shooter who died of "an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, police confirmed in a statement late Wednesday.

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WHO official leads criticism of Trump's coronavirus response

President Trump with members of the new coronavirus task force, including Vice President Mike Pence at the White House on Wednesday. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, special advisor to the director general of the World Health Organization, told MSNBC Wednesday he found "most" of what President Trump said at his briefing on the novel coronavirus "incoherent."

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