Iraq’s parliament approves eight new ministers


BAGHDAD – Iraq’s parliament approved eight new ministers on Sunday, filling some crucial posts in the premier’s new cabinet but still leaving three sensitive security portfolios and the planning ministry vacant. Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who began a second four-year term in December after striking a power-sharing deal with rival Sunni and Kurdish blocs following a March inconclusive election, appeared before parliament with a list of three cabinet ministers and five state ministers.
The crucial electricity ministry, tasked with reviving services in the face of growing protests decrying the long daily power cuts, was retained by the majority-Sunni Iraqiya bloc. Municipalities and Public Works meanwhile, went to Maliki’s own National Alliance while a Kurdish bloc was given control of the trade ministry. The Shiite National Alliance, which also won 159 of the 325 seats in parliament, controls the lion’s share of the top government positions: the premiership, deputy prime minister and 19 ministries, including the crucial oil ministry.
The Sunni-dominated Iraqiya, which won 91 seats in parliament, now has a deputy ministerial position, and 11 ministers and state ministers, including the ministries of finance and electricity. The Kurdish bloc, with 57 parliamentary seats, retains a deputy premiership and controls six ministries, including foreign affairs. The small Wasat coalition, which is made of Shiites and Sunnis and has 10 legislative seats, was allocated two ministries, and a Christian got the environment ministry.