Iraqi parliament approves new cabinet
Updated: 2014-09-09 08:54
Iraq's new premier Haider Abadi speaks to Iraqi lawmakers before submitting his government at the parliament headquarters in Baghdad, September 8, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]
BAGHDAD - The Iraqi parliament on Monday approved the new cabinet of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and his government program for the next four years, leaving key security portfolios unfilled due to political disputes.
The government program included active participation in decision-making by all Iraqi factions, national reconciliation, military rebuilding, administration decentralization, nationwide participation in security forces, counter-terrorism, as well as settlement of disputes with the Iraqi autonomous region of Kurdistan.
Among the 289 parliament members present at the session of the 328-seat
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Abadi also appointed Salih al-Mutlak, a Sunni, Bahaa al-Araji, a Shiite and the Kurdish veteran Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari as deputy prime ministers.
The lawmakers voted in Abadi's partial multi-party cabinet which consisted of 24 ministries without including the two ministries of Defense and Interior, which Abadi said that he won't announce their names and promised to announce them within a week, saying he needed more negotiations with the political blocs to name the substitutes of the two sensitive ministries.
Abadi appointed Ibrahim al-Jaafari, a Shiite leading figure and former prime minister, as foreign minister, and Adel Abdul-Mahdi as oil minister, a Shiite leading figure in the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, headed by Shiite cleric Ammar al-Hakim, while Rowsch Nuri Shaways, a Kurdish, as finance minister.
Abadi said that there are more ministries, which will be run by acting ministers temporarily without disclosing the names of those ministries. However, he pledged that he will bring permanent ministers for those portfolios to the parliament also within a week to replace the acting chiefs.
The parliament also elected the outgoing Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, former Sunni Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi and former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi as vice presidents in the Presidency Council, which is headed by the Iraqi President Fuad Masoum, a Kurdish.
In addition, the parliament elected Humam Hamoudi, a Shiite politician, as the first deputy parliament speaker, a post previously held by Abadi.
According to the Iraqi constitution, Abadi has to pick his cabinet within 30 days after his official nomination as prime minister-designate on Aug 11 by Iraqi President Fuad Masoum.
The government formation plan will have to win the approval of an absolute majority of the members of the Council of Representatives.