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Ammar al-Hakim Appointed New Leader of Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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London, Asharq Al-Awsat- Ridha Jawad Taqi, a high-ranking member of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council revealed that Ammar al-Hakim, son of late leader Abdulaziz al-Hakim, who died in Tehran last week, has become the new leader of the Shiite party. Taqi informed Asharq Al-Awsat that Ammar al-Hakim “did not impose himself to the leadership of the Council, nor did he nominate himself for this position, despite the fact that his father [the former leader] officially entrusted him with the position of vice-president of the Council, and he executed his father’s political and social operations [from this position].”

Taqi, who is a member of the Iraqi Council of Representatives for the largest Shiite political group in Iraq, confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat via telephone from Baghdad yesterday that “two prominent and high-ranking members of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council are the ones who nominated Ammar al-Hakim for the presidency of the party, and we have seen his capability and capacity to handle this responsibility, which he exercised for several months [during his father’s illness].”

Taqi also pointed out that “the mechanism for choosing a leader for the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council is based upon his election by the Central Shura Council which arbitrates any nominations for this position, or any other position in the party.”

Taqi informed Asharq Al-Awsat that “according to the nominations of the members of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council for Ammar al-Hakim, the [party’s] Shura Council will meet on Tuesday to elect him, and officially assign him the duties of the president [of the party]. The Shura Council was scheduled to meet on Monday to resolve this issue, but the Shura Council members and Ammar al-Hakim were busy attending the memorial service [for Abdulaziz al-Hakim] that took place throughout Iraq, and this is what delayed a decision being taken in this matter.”

Upon arriving to Baghdad from Tehran, Ammar al-Hakim had said that he would not put himself forward as a leadership candidate for the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council; however he added “I will accept the responsibility of this position if I am chosen by the leadership of the Council.”

With regards to accusations of nepotism, Taqi said that “the mechanism for nomination and election by the Central Shura Council shuts the door on those who believe that the leadership of the Council is based upon genetics. Proof of this is that any member of the [Supreme Islamic Iraqi] Council has the right to nominate themselves for the presidency of the Council, but nobody nominated themselves, and the leadership of the organization chose Ammar al-Hakim [as president]; they have put their confidence in his abilities.”

The memorial service held for Abdulaziz al-Hakim in the city of Najaf brought together important leaders from around Iraq including Kurdish leaders who came to the Shiite holy city in order to offer their condolences to the late Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council leader’s son and successor.

Former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister and member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan [PUK], Dr Barham Saleh, and Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Nechirvan Barzani also paid separate visits to Ammar al-Hakim on Sunday in order to offer their condolences and express their “grief and sorrow at the death of his father.”

Nechirvan Barzani also offered Ammar al-Hakim the condolences of President of the Kurdistan Region, Massoud Barzani, saying “the death of [Abdulaziz] al-Hakim is a great loss to the Iraqi people in general, and to the people of Kurdistan in particular.” He also made reference to the “historical relationship that ties the people of Kurdistan with the al-Hakim family.”