Al-Maliki May Announce Some Members of Iraqi Cabinet

December 20, 2010

By Nayla Razzouk and Kadhim Ajrash, Bloomberg News

Dec. 20 (Bloomberg) — Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is expected to announce a partial lineup of posts in Iraq’s national-unity cabinet, keeping the security jobs for himself until a deal is reached with groups that opposed him in elections, according to some members of his bloc in parliament.

Al-Maliki “will go to parliament this afternoon to present his government, without the security portfolios, which include defense, interior and national security,’’ the government spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh, said in a telephone interview from Baghdad. Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani and Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari will remain in the posts, he said.

Lawmakers won’t vote on al-Maliki’s choices today, Speaker Usama al-Nujafi said in an interview without elaborating. Disagreements about the distribution of posts are holding up completion of the nominations, which may be delayed beyond today, said Hussein al-Assadi, a lawmaker in al-Maliki’s group.

Months of political paralysis and disputes followed the March 7 parliamentary vote, which produced no clear winner. A new government would begin to take office as the U.S. prepares to pull out its remaining troops by the end of 2011. The Iraqi leadership will have to deal with violence, a struggling economy and long-standing disputes over internal boundaries and rights to the country’s oil and gas reserves.

The positions that have been decided on comprise more than half the cabinet, said Sherwan al-Waili, national security minister and a member of al-Maliki’s parliamentary bloc.

Deadline Approaches

Discussions are continuing on whether al-Shahristani should be given the job of deputy prime minister for energy affairs instead of keeping the Oil Ministry role, said Abdul Hadi al- Hassani, a member of al-Maliki’s bloc. Zebari was chosen to retain the Foreign Ministry because he “has proven to be very successful and he is the sole candidate to the position as presented by the Kurdish coalition,’’ he said.

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