On Wednesday, a group of Sunni leaders nominated lawmaker Mishaan al-Jiburi as their candidate, although it was not clear if he had the backing of the entire Sunni community 

 

Al-Jiburi was nominated at a meeting attended by representatives of the Iraqi Islamic Party (IIP), Sunni Waqf (endowment), Iraqi Independent Democratic Gathering (IIDG), the Iraqiyyun (Iraqis) Gathering, Constitutional Monarchy Movement of Iraq (CMMI) and the Arab Democratic Party (ADP), as well as other political and tribal groupings.

 

However, by Thursday afternoon, some lawmakers in the Shia clergy-led United Iraqi Alliance coalition - which won 140 of the 275 seats in parliament - objected to the choice.

 

"He's unacceptable," said Ali al-Dabagh of the Alliance. "He does not represent all the Sunnis."

 

Standing firm

 

But al-Jiburi said he was not going to back down as the Sunni candidate and bitterly criticised Shia lawmakers for rejecting his nomination.

 

"This Alliance rejected me because I defend the rights of the Arab Sunni community," he said.

 

He also cited his support of the "honourable national resistance" as a factor.

 

"They accused me of being a Baathist - I have never been a member of the Baath party, although I do not find membership to be something insulting," al-Jiburi said.

 

Al-Jiburi said every grouping should have the right to choose its own candidate without interference from other factions.

 

He said no objections were made when "Iranian citizens assumed their seats of responsibility in the National Assembly", but refrained from elaborating.

 
Lawmakers were scheduled to hold a formal session on Sunday to resolve the issue.