Wednesday, 9 January, 2019 – 07:45 –
Iraqi lawmakers attend the first parliament session in …
Baghdad – Hamza Mustafa
Iraq’s parliament postponed a session scheduled for Monday to Thursday due to a lack of quorum, although the session’s agenda lacked any item related to filling the vacant positions for key ministries in the cabinet of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi.
Three months after being tasked to form the government, Abdul Mahdi has still not been able to convince the political blocs with his remaining candidates for three key ministries: justice, interior and defense.
In its last session held in December, parliament failed to vote on completing the 22-minister government lineup as disputes between the Reform and Binaa blocs continued.
While political blocs bickered over the candidates, two documents related to those nominations have been released. The first speaks of a new candidate for the defense portfolio. The document is backed by several blocs from the National Coalition, led by Vice President Ayad Allawi.
The other document is related to the three vacant ministries.
The Reform and Construction Coalition, led by cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, asked the prime minister to dismiss ministers who have a legal history.
In a statement issued on Monday, the Coalition stressed the need to respect the internal regulations of parliament and the need to reconsider the voting mechanism adopted for electing the defense and education ministers.
The Coalition also rejected the distribution of posts for the chairmanship of parliamentary committees based on sectarian foundations.
In this regard, Reform and Construction MP Nada Shaker Jawdat told Asharq Al-Awsat that the bloc had discovered that several ministers, who were appointed during the first round of voting, have a criminal record.
“But, Abdul Mahdi failed to take any measures against them, so we wanted to shed light on the issue because it violates the Constitution,” she said.
When asked about the case of Shaima Khalil, who was appointed as education minister but still has not taken the ministerial oath, Shaker Jawdat said, “After the spread of a video related to her brother, Khalil cannot be sworn in under any pretext or excuse.”
Khalil resigned over allegations that her brother has links to ISIS, but Abdul Mahdi has yet to approve it.
Meanwhile, lawmaker Ahmed al-Assadi told Asharq Al-Awsat that until now, Falih Al-Fayadh is still the Binaa bloc’s nominee for defense minister.
“However, there are contacts with other blocs to reach a solution to this crisis,” he said.