Veteran politician Hoshyar Zebari has been barred from running for presidency by Iraq’s Supreme Court after a complaint filed against him over corruption charges.
Previously, Zebari was “suspended” from the race on February 6, on the eve of the scheduled presidential vote in parliament, in which he was deemed as a favorite.
Based on accusations that his participation would have been “unconstitutional” because of the outstanding corruption charges and on the basis of reputation, MPs submitted a complaint against Zebari before the court.
Zebari was dismissed from the post of finance minister by parliament in 2016 “over charges linked to financial and administrative corruption.”
On Sunday, the state news agency INA announced, “The federal court decided in its verdict to invalidate the candidacy of Hoshyar Zebari to the post of president of the republic.”
The 68-year-old was accused of diverting $1.8m worth of public funds to pay for airline tickets for his personal security detail, which Zebari has denied along with all other corruption allegations.
In a television interview last week, Zebari stated: “I have not been convicted in any court.”
Parliamentary Speaker Mohamed al-Halbousi announced last Tuesday the “reopening of registration for candidates for the post of president of the republic from Wednesday, February 9 and for a period of three days.”