Politics: After a year of stalemate, Iraq finally has a government

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principleAfter a year of stalemate, Iraq finally has a government

On Thursday, the Iraqi parliament gave the green light to the new prime minister’s team, ending a troubled period.

The new government consists of 21 ministers.

AFP Photo/HO/Iraq Parliamentary Media Office

After sometimes bloody tests of strength, Iraq is now a Government After Parliament gave confidence to the team New Prime Minister Mohamed Zia al-Soudani faces enormous political and economic challenges. The election marks a decisive step in Iraq’s slow exit from the political stalemate that led it a year ago, plagued by corruption and instability.

Since early legislative elections in October 2021, the political Shia clerics have been unable to accept a new president or appoint a prime minister. Their rivalry sometimes turned into armed conflicts. Finally, on October 13, the delegates succeeded in electing Kurdish Abdel Latif Rachid as the head of the republic. The latter immediately instructed a Shia, Mohammed Siya al-Saudani, to form the government.

The unpredictable Shia leader

On Thursday evening, the 21-ministered government “received the confidence of the National Assembly,” according to Mohamed Zia al-Saudani’s office, during a show of hands during which the press was not invited. Mohamed Zia al-Soudani, 52, succeeds Mustafa al-Qasimi, in office since May 2020. He is backed by the pro-Iranian parties of the coalition that dominate the legislature.

Consistent with his refusal to participate in the government, the influential and unpredictable Shiite leader Moqtada Sadr, a staunch enemy of the coalition structure, was not represented in the cabinet. In multi-ethnic and multi-confessional Iraq, ministries are divided between parties from various Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish communities. Iraq’s majority Shiites hold a large number of government portfolios.

Vote “Welcome”

Of the 21 ministries filled, twelve go to Shiites supported by the coordination framework, six to Sunni officials (including security), two to Kurds (including foreign affairs) and finally one to a Christian. Three ministers will be occupied by women. “Our Council of Ministers will assume its responsibility at this critical time when the world is witnessing great changes and conflicts,” Mohamed Zia al-Soudani said during his speech before the vote by parliamentarians.

UN in Iraq The delegation “welcomed” the election result. But the entry into office of the new government is far from marking the end of the conflict between the coalition and Moqtada Sadr. The executive and Moqtada have been protagonists in a violent struggle for influence since the 2021 legislative elections.

The war that broke out

Their rivalry degenerated into a pitched battle in Baghdad at the end of August. More than 30 Sadrist supporters have been killed in these clashes, which have pitted them against the army and Hajd al-Saabi, former paramilitary forces integrated with regular troops and representing the armed edge of the coalition structure.

As Ihsan al-Shammari of Baghdad University explains, Mohammad Zia al-Soudani and the coordination framework will be interested in giving the Sadrists the “reform pledges” they demand to avoid further bloodshed.

Are objections visible?

But Iraqis especially expect their new government to respond to a serious social and economic crisis. In this hydrocarbon-rich country, power cuts occur daily, nearly four in ten young people are unemployed and a third of the population lives in poverty.

The head of government must deal with the 2022 budget, which has yet to be adopted, and the distribution of $87 billion in foreign currency from oil exports that are sitting idle at the central bank pending a new government. A challenge in Iraq, where corruption and nepotism are pervasive.

(AFP)

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