Iraq lawmakers approve government of Prime Minister-designate Kadhimi

Iraq lawmakers approve government of Prime Minister-designate Kadhimi

Iraqi lawmakers approved a new government on Wednesday after six months without one as parties squabbled until the last minute over Cabinet seats in backroom deals, Trend reports citing Reuters.

Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, Iraq’s intelligence chief and a former journalist, will head the new government. He will begin his term without a full Cabinet, however, after several ministerial candidates were rejected.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo welcomed the new government in a call with Kadhimi, the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

It also said Washington would renew for 120 days a waiver allowing Iraq to import electricity from Iran “to help provide the right conditions for success” of the new government.

Former prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, who has been leading a caretaker government, resigned last year as anti-government protesters took to the streets in their thousands, demanding jobs and the departure of Iraq’s ruling elite.

The battle over government portfolios since Abdul Mahdi’s resignation in November prevented two previous nominees for prime minister from forming a Cabinet.

Kadhimi’s candidates for Cabinet posts including interior, defence, finance and electricity passed with votes from a majority of lawmakers present.

Voting on the oil and foreign ministries was delayed as the parties failed to agree on candidates. They rejected the incoming premier’s picks for justice, agriculture and trade.

“The security, stability and blossoming of Iraq is our path,” Kadhimi wrote on his Twitter account after parliament voted for his Cabinet.

He said he would make tackling the coronavirus pandemic, of which Iraq has suffered more than 2,000 cases and more than 100 deaths, a priority and hold to account those who had killed protesters in previous months of anti-government unrest.

Iraqi officials say Kadhimi is acceptable to both the United States and Iran.

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