Iraqi PM announces cabinet changes
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Thursday nominated ministers for six cabinet seats that loyalists of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr vacated over a month ago.
In a speech before announcing the six names Maliki insisted that the nominees were independent technocrats, in order to "confirm that the formation of the government is based on democracy and professionalism." "If we are late in announcing the names it is because we reviewed many names and CVs," Maliki added, according to AFP. "We believe these nominees are the best we can get."
Lawmakers will listen to the nominees recite their CVs and answer questions before reconvening on Sunday to vote on them. Sadr's ministers left the government on April 16 in response to Maliki's refusal to back a timeline for the departure of US forces from the country.
On Thursday, Maliki renewed calls for the parliament to set aside political feuding and work together to rescue the country from the violence. "One of the issues we agreed on with the political leaderships is that we work under the theme of cooperation, integration and review," Maliki said. "Review means inviting all parties into the constitutional process."
The nominees are Ali al-Bahadli (agriculture), Dr Sabah Rasul Sadeq (health), Amer Abdel Jabbar Ismail (transport), Thamer Jaafar Mohammed al-Zubaidi (civil society), Dr Kholud Sami Azar al-Maajun (provincial affairs) and Zuhair Mohammed Ridha Sharba (tourism).