ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi has presented to parliament his candidates for the remaining eight posts in his cabinet, with lawmakers set to vote on the names at noon this Tuesday.
The vote comes as leading blocs in parliament continue to contest the two major ministerial portfolios of Interior and Defense. In late October, the Iraqi Parliament gave its vote of confidence to 14 ministers. The rest were due to be voted on in early November, but repeated delays have pushed the vote to December.
Parliament said in a statement that Tuesday’s session would begin at noon, during which a vote will take place on the completion of the cabinet.
As of Monday, Kurdish lawmaker Miran Mohammed told Kurdistan 24, “Shia and Sunni factions have not reached a consensus on the ministerships of interior and defense.”
The PM presented lawmakers with the CVs of his picks late Monday. Among the names is that of Falih al-Fayyadh for the Minister of Interior, a candidate put forth by the pro-Iran al-Fatih Alliance led by Hadi al-Amiri, which heads al-Bina Coalition, one of two major factions in parliament.
Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has repeatedly stated his opposition to Fayyadh’s nomination, or that of any politically affiliated candidate for the important posts, and has called for independents to be placed in those ministries. Sadr’s Sairoon Alliance won the May 12 elections and is at the head of the Reform and Reconstruction parliamentary faction.
Following months of political deadlock after the national elections, Sadr reluctantly allied with Amiri to defuse a possible conflict between Shia parties and agreed to nominate Abdul-Mahdi as Prime Minister. Since then, the PM has been struggling to form his cabinet.
On Monday, Sadr sent a letter to Abdul-Mahdi repeating his calls the portfolios to be handed over to politically unaffiliated technocrats. He also warned the troubled PM he had one year to prove his success.
The names Abdul-Mahdi has nominated are as follows:
Faysal al-Jarba – Minister of Defense
Falih al-Fayyadh – Minister of Interior
Qusay al-Suheil – Minister of Higher Education
Abdul-Amir al-Hamdani – Minister of Culture
Hanna Gorges – Minister of Immigrants and Immigration
Nouri al-Dulaimi – Minister of Planning
Saba al-‘Tai – Minister of Education
Dara Nour-al-Din – Minister of Justice
As of 1:00 pm, lawmakers from Sadr's coalition have yet to attend the session, reportedly due to ongoing disputes over the most coveted portfolios, namely the security ministries.
Editing by Nadia Riva