Iraqi PM-designate sends gov't program to parliament, proposed cabinet ‘in the days to come’
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Mustafa al-Kadhimi stated on Wednesday that he had sent his official proposed “government program” to the parliament in Baghdad and noted that the names of candidates for various ministerial posts would be submitted soon.
“My Government Program was delivered to Parliament today,” said Kadhimi in a social media post. “The nominees for cabinet positions will follow in the days to come, and within the constitutionally mandated timeframe.”
Iraqi President Barham Salih officially tasked Kadhimi to form a government on April 9. From that date, according to the Iraqi constitution, the nominee must submit a ministerial program and the names of his proposed ministers “within a period not to exceed thirty days from the date of his designation” to face a vote before parliament.
Top Kurdish leaders welcomed his nomination and offered support to expedite the process. In an April 18 social media post, he affirmed, “Cabinet formation talks are underway and progressing positively. I am working on overcoming hurdles through constructive dialogue.”
Kadhimi, who has served for years as the country’s intelligence chief, is the third man nominated to lead the nation after now-caretaker Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi stepped down in late November as the consequence of a repressive crackdown on anti-government protesters that began in early October.
The process of finding a new premiere has proven to be fraught with difficulty and have been the target of criticism at times by legal experts who point out apparent constitutional violations.
Recent local Iraqi media reports indicate that Kadhimi has a near-full lineup of candidates to lead his cabinet should the parliament accept them. At least two posts, the coveted security ministries, still reportedly remain vacant amid disputes between rival Sunni and Shia-led parties.
Similar disruptions plagued Abdul Mahdi’s government formation efforts and those of previous administrations.
Since the 2005 constitution was ratified, Sunni parties have usually held the Ministry of Defense and Shia parties the Ministry of Interior (police) as part of a semi-formal power-sharing convention that has often been a source of contention among political factions claiming to represent members of the two sects.
Kadhimi appeared to be highlighting such perennial issues in Iraqi politics in a Monday tweet, in which he asserted, “I will only accept what is in the true interest of Iraq, and reject any pressure aimed at undermining it.”
He went on to highlight the current “economic, health and security challenges” the country faces and promised to form a government that would “tackle these crises.”
Erbil-Baghdad disputes, the coronavirus pandemic that is crippling governments worldwide, an ongoing protest movement that continues to demand systematic change in the national political system, potential economic repercussions of falling oil prices, and an uptick in attacks by remnants of the Islamic State are among a list of pressing issues Kadhimi would have to work to tackle, should he win over the legislature’s vote.
Editing by John J. Catherine