Iraq: Dominant Parliamentary Blocs Want Partisan Cabinet

The Iraqi Parliament has failed to respect the Sunday deadline to approve Prime Minister Abadi’s new cabinet made up of technocrats and academicians, as dominant Parliamentary political blocs want a partisan cabinet in a bid to create balance between all parties.

Analysts say this would mean a return to the system of ethnic and sectarian quotas that emerged after the US-led invasion against Saddam Hussein’s regime. Some members of parliament said an agreement is yet to be reached amongst them and it could take longer than expected.

According to Abadi, the new 16-member cabinet will bring a “fundamental” change and help in the fight against corruption but the MPs want the appointed ministers to step down and to be replaced by political parties’ affiliates.

Proposals from the political blocs include the ambassador to the UN Mohammed Ali Hakim to serve as Foreign Minister and the head of Baghdad University Musa al-Moussawi to become Higher Education Minister.

Kurdish parliamentarians, united under the Kurdistan Alliance, have reportedly not made any suggestions on the matter but the two main Kurdish parties warned, in a statement, that “any change in federal government institutions must ensure the share for the Kurds, and the Kurdistan political leadership will determine who represents Kurdistan.”

The growing disagreement led US Vice-President Joe Biden to hold separate phone talks with Prime Minister Abadi and Kurdish regional president Massoud Barzani and urge for a “close cooperation… to strengthen political unity and economic stability” as the US continues to support “a unified, federal, and democratic Iraq,” Biden said.

Written by