Iraqi MPs Approve Partial Cabinet

Iraqi MPs Approve Partial CabinetIraqi MPs Approve Partial Cabinet

Iraqi lawmakers approved five of the prime minister’s candidates for a new Cabinet on Tuesday after weeks of delays and chaos at parliament, as thousands of people demonstrated for reforms.

But some MPs, who were barred from attending after chanting for the parliament speaker’s removal and disrupting an earlier session, said they would mount a legal challenge.

Iraq has been hit by weeks of political turmoil surrounding Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s efforts to replace the Cabinet of party-affiliated ministers with a government of technocrats, AFP reported.

The crisis comes as Iraqi forces battle to regain more ground from the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group, and both the United Nations and Washington have warned that it could undermine the fight against the terrorists.

Iraq has also been hit hard by the plummeting price of oil, revenues from which account for the vast majority of government funds.

The proposed Cabinet changes have been opposed by powerful political parties that rely on control of ministries for patronage and funds, and parliament has repeatedly failed to vote on a new Cabinet list.

Lawmakers approved Abadi’s candidates for the ministries of electricity, health, higher education, labor and water resources, MP Sarwa Abdulwahid and two parliamentary officials told AFP.

But they rejected some of Abadi’s nominees and the premier will present additional candidates on Saturday, the sources said.

Parliament has repeatedly been hit by chaos in recent weeks, with MPs holding an overnight sit-in at parliament, brawling in the chamber and seeking to sack Juburi, electing an interim replacement who has chaired his own rival sessions.

Abadi called a week ago for parliament to put aside its differences and do its job, but the antics in the legislature have continued.