Adel Abdul Mahdi was sworn in as Iraq’s new prime minister on Wednesday along with 14 of his Cabinet picks. But parliament refused to seat another eight ministers, including those chosen for the key posts of interior and defense, amid accusations that they’re Saddam Hussein regime stalwarts or simply corrupt.
Why it matters: Sharp divisions among Iraq’s political parties continue to hamper the formation of a functioning government that can bring stability to the country six months after the May elections. The country’s convoluted quota system is also hamstringing the prime minister as he tries to tries to assemble a team of independent technocrats. Sunni and Kurdish parties, in particular, are worried about losing influence in the new government.
What’s next: Voting on the remaining Cabinet members is scheduled for Nov. 2. Abdul Mahdi’s government, however, has already started operating, with the vacant ministries filled via temporary appointments. The prime minister will seek to present eight new candidates by early November. Current indications are that he won’t be able to get enough support in parliament, thus postponing the final formation of his Cabinet until another legislative session.
Know more: Read Al-Monitor’s Fazel Hawramy on the behind-the-scenes maneuvering that led to the selection of Abdul Mahdi as prime minister. And don’t miss Omar Sattar’s reporting on the controversy swirling around his pick for interior minister, Faleh al-Fayadh, the leader of the country’s Shiite-majority militias.
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