Thu 07 May 2020:

Iraq’s parliament approved the cabinet of Prime Minister-designate Mustafa al-Kadhimi early Thursday after some last-minute changes to appease political parties, reported Anadolu Agency. 

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

Parliament approved 15 ministers out of a prospective 22-seat cabinet in a vote of confidence.

Five ministerial candidates were rejected while voting on two ministers was postponed, leaving seven ministries, including the key oil and foreign affairs positions, still empty.

Ministerial candidates for the ministry of justice, ministry of displacement and migration, ministry of agriculture, ministry of trade and ministry of culture and tourism were rejected. 

Voting on the oil and foreign ministries was postponed because no candidate was determined.

Al-Kadhimi and the 15 approved ministers were sworn in in parliament. 

The vote of confidence session for the new cabinet began at 9pm local time (1800GMT) on Wednesday, according to a statement from the parliamentary press office. 

Iraqi President Barham Salih appointed al-Kadhimi, a former director of the Iraqi National Intelligence Service, as prime minister-designate on April 9. 

According to the Iraqi constitution, al-Kadhimi was required to form a government within one month.

Kadhimi’s government must deal with an impending economic crisis precipitated by the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused the prices of oil – Iraq’s principal source of revenue – to plummet.

It also faces a growing Islamic State insurgency as the extremist group steps up attacks on government troops from hideouts in remote areas of northern Iraq.

Iraq risks being caught up in any regional conflagration between Washington and Tehran, as militia groups vow revenge for the killing of Soleimani and Muhandis and President Donald Trump continues his bellicose rhetoric against Iran. 

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