Iraq Cabinet formation vital step to overcome crisis, says president

Parliament approved new government after a year of political deadlock

Iraqi Parliament Speaker Mohammed Al Halbousi, centre, announces the result of a confidence vote on the government of Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani, centre right. AFP
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Iraq's newly elected President Abdul Latif Rashid said on Friday that the formation of the new Cabinet is a vital step to overcoming the country's crises, as ministers were sworn in.

A year after elections, politicians finally came to an agreement for form the new government, which was approved by Parliament late on Thursday, ending political deadlock.

This was the longest period during which Iraq did not have a government since the US-led invasion in 2003.

The new government will be led by Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani. He has vowed to reform the country's shattered economy and to fight corruption.

“The current situation requires strengthening national unity, overcoming difficulties, and working to consolidate stability in the country and protect the security of citizens,” Mr Rashid said.

The new government is now able to overcome the crisis, he said, adding that it is necessary to “meet the needs of the Iraqi people”.

New Interior Minister Abdul Amir Al Shammari said he would ensure that communication will be open with various segments of Iraq's society, Iraq's state news agency.

“We will work to provide the best services to citizens and overcome obstacles with the ministry's leaders,” he said.

Other countries pledged their support for Iraq's new ministers.

The UK's Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said: “I have seen for myself some the challenges Iraq faces.”

“The UK is ready to support Mr Al Sudani and his new government in taking urgent action to address these issues,”

The US State Department said it looks forward to working with Mr Al Sudani and his government on a range of shared interests.

This includes “improving services for the Iraqi people to ensuring a safe, stable and sovereign Iraq as outlined in our Strategic Framework Agreement,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price.

“The US stands ready to work with the Iraqi government and people to confront Iraq's challenges together,” he said.

Mr Al Sudani's Cabinet of 21 ministers includes the former head of the state-run South Gas Company Hayan Abdul Ghani as oil minister. He kept Fuad Hussein as foreign minister for a second term and Taif Sami as finance minister.

Among his pledges he vowed to amend the election law within three months and hold early parliamentary elections within a year.

“The epidemic of corruption that has affected all aspects of life is more deadly than the coronavirus pandemic and has been the cause of many economic problems, weakening the state’s authority, increasing poverty, unemployment, and poor public services,” Mr Al Sudani said in his speech to Parliament before the vote on Thursday.

Mr Al Sudani has previously served as Iraq’s human rights minister as well as minister of labour and social affairs.

Updated: October 28, 2022, 11:39 AM