Iraq’s new PM will name cabinet in two days

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s new Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi is putting the
finishing touches to his first cabinet and will submit the names to
parliament for approval in the next two days.

All the proposed ministers are independents nominated by the political
blocs in the ruling coalition, and none is a current or former member of
parliament, leading party negotiators told Arab News on Sunday.

The Shiite coalition was formed last month after lengthy negotiations
following parliamentary elections in May. It comprises the Reform
alliance sponsored by the influential Shiite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr, and
the Iranian backed Al-Binna’a led by Hadi Al-Amiri, commander of the
Badr Organization, the most powerful Shiite armed faction.

Abdul Mahdi’s proposed cabinet will consist of 22 ministers and two
vice-presidents. He will not have a deputy prime minister. Shiites,
Sunnis, Kurds and minorities must all be represented, under Iraq’s
constitution. In addition, an unwritten rule requires that ministerial
posts and high government positions be filled according to the
distribution of parliamentary seats.

Negotiators told Arab News that Abdul Mahdi’s ministers for oil,
transport, health, electricity, higher education and water will come
from the Reform alliance; ministers for the interior, foreign affairs,
communication, housing and construction, and labor and industry will be
from Al-Binna’a; Sunnis will be ministers for defense, planning, trade,
education, agriculture and youth; and the ministers of finance, justice
and immigration will be Kurds.

“The final names have not been revealed yet,” a Reform negotiator told
Arab News. “We presented four names for each post and we are waiting for
Abdul Mahdi to present his final list on Monday.”

The coalition will support Abdul Mahdi for one year. “The veto imposed
by Sadr and Amiri on any current or former parliamentarians to be a
minister has embarrassed everyone and pushed them to change their
plans,” an Al-Binna’a negotiator said.

“A year is enough to see if Abdul Mahdi has formed a harmonious team and
whether his team will succeed, so it’s fair enough for all parties.”

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