Iraqi PM-Designate Allawi to send proposed ‘independent’ cabinet to parliament

Allawi’s government has until March 2 to face a vote of confidence in the national legislature.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraq’s Prime Minister-Designate Mohammad Tawfiq Allawi said on Saturday that he is ready to reveal his proposed cabinet to face a vote of confidence by the national legislature, saying that his government would be “independent” of interference by political parties.

“We are close to realizing a historic achievement, which is the completion of an independent ministerial cabinet made up of competent and impartial people without the intervention of any political party,” Allawi said in a Twitter post.

He added, “We will present the names of this cabinet this week, God willing, away from rumors and leaks, and we hope members of Parliament will respond and vote on it in order to start implementing the people’s demands.”

Named after a difficult consensus reached by different political blocs earlier this month, Allawi’s government has until March 2 to face a vote of confidence in the legislature. Parliament would have to hold an extraordinary session as it is currently in recess until mid-March.

Iraq observers note that obtaining a divided parliament’s confidence would be difficult for Allawi and his cabinet, as he does not have many clear backers in the legislature.

The PM-Designate appears not to have consulted top Kurdish leaders about their role in his cabinet. Prime Minister Masrour Barzani commented on the issue at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, stating that negotiations on ministerial positions for Kurds in a future federal Iraqi government should be held through official Kurdish institutions.

Barzani has previously affirmed that the new federal government “must be genuinely inclusive, representative of the will of the Iraqi peoples, and engage constructively [with] the Kurdistan Region in line with our constitutional rights.”

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Influential cleric Muqtada al-Sadr – who was first to announce his support for Allawi’s nomination publicly – has threatened to “overthrow” Allawi in three days should he appoint his ministers from political parties, especially Sadr’s main competitors.

Allawi’s announced move comes amid ongoing protests against the country’s ruling elite. Demonstrators view Iraq’s political class that has been in power since the fall of the former Iraqi regime in 2003 as unashamedly corrupt and which does not provide the most basic services to the people.

Protests have also refused to endorse Allawi, a former minister, because he is close to the ruling elite they have decried since they began taking to the streets in early October. A brutal crackdown by members of the security forces has resulted in the death of about 550 people, the vast majority of them young demonstrators.

Iranian-backed militias have been accused of carrying out part of the violence, targeting demonstrators and activists with sniper rifles and carrying out targeted assassinations.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany