Iraqi prime minister announces new Cabinet

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki submitted his new Cabinet on Monday, clearing a hurdle to seating a government more than nine months after national elections.

But nearly one-third of the nominees were only acting ministers, an attempt to buy time to work out disagreements with a key part of al-Maliki’s coalition — the hardline Shiite faction loyal to anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Parliament was expected to vote on the list of 42 ministers and other top government posts as early as Tuesday, according to Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, a member of the Sunni-backed Iraqiya alliance that won the most seats in the March 7 election and, until this month, bitterly fought al-Maliki from keeping his job.

Flanked by al-Maliki at a joint news conference Monday night, al-Nujaifi said the prime minister had met his constitutional deadline to designate Iraq’s new leadership.

Although 13 of the posts were filled with acting ministers, al-Nujaifi’s endorsement suggested that Iraqiya was on board.

The Sadrists were another matter. They were promised eight of those jobs but also demanded another — the transportation ministry — and a deputy premiership. Al-Maliki rejected some of the Sadrist candidates because he said they were uneducated or otherwise unqualified.


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