ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Prime Minister of Iraq, Adil Abdul-Mahdi, on Tuesday rejected rumors he intends to resign as he struggles to fill four vacant ministerial posts in his cabinet.
His comments came during the prime minister’s weekly press briefing in Baghdad.
“The government is committed to the implementation of its program,” Abdul-Mahdi said. “A change of Prime Minister goes back to Parliament, and there is no movement in this direction.”
The rumors come as some parliamentary blocs are reportedly pressuring Abdul-Mahdi to resign from his post. Iraqi media reports point the finger at Abdul-Mahdi’s predecessor, Haider al-Abadi, for leading the movement after his coalition came in third place in the May 2018 election.
Abdul-Mahdi took office in Oct. 2018 and shoulders many responsibilities, such as re-building the country after its devastating war against the Islamic State. He has also promised to combat corruption and improve public services in the country, but not much progress has been accomplished thus far, according to Iraqi activists and analysts.
There are four ministerial posts that have remained vacant in Abdul-Mahdi’s cabinet due to disagreements between major parliamentary blocs over candidates. The posts are the Ministers of Defense, Interior, Justice, and Education.
“The cabinet must be completed before the end of the current legislative term of parliament,” Abdul-Mahdi told reporters on Tuesday.
The top Iraqi official maintains strong relations with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and its senior leaders in the north. Combined, the Kurdish parties account for around 60 seats out of the Iraqi Parliament’s total of 329 seats.
However, the two governments are yet to discuss resolving outstanding disputes between Erbil and Baghdad, such as the disputed territories or oil and gas-related problems, before they can reach an agreement on federal government posts.
Editing by Nadia Riva