Iraq’s prime minister-designate has submitted his government program to parliament ahead of a looming deadline to end a months-long political deadlock in the country.
Mustafa al-Kadhimi is the third candidate tasked this year with forming a new government. Iraqi President Barham Salih named Kadhimi after former Najaf governor Adnan al-Zurfi and former Communications Minister Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi failed to garner enough support in the highly fractured Iraqi Parliament.
Kadhimi, the country’s intelligence chief, has until May 9 to assemble a cabinet he’s promised “will put the public’s interest first.”
“My Government Program was delivered to Parliament today. The nominees for cabinet positions will follow in the days to come, and within the constitutionally mandated time frame,” he tweeted Wednesday. “Long live Iraq, the Iraqi people, and our sovereign land.”
During a press briefing Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Iraqi leaders to drop the ethno-sectarian quota system that has been used to appoint cabinet positions. Getting rid of the "muhasasa" system has been a primary demand of the protesters who forced Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi out of office in late November.
“The Iraqi people need and deserve a government that frees the country from external intimidation, puts the prosperity of the Iraqi people first and tackles the maze of challenges that continue to face Iraq,” Pompeo said.
Kadhimi has said his government would work with the United States in the upcoming “strategic dialogue” between the two countries that is scheduled for June.