Tens of thousands seek posts in Iraqi cabinet

More than a quarter of the 36,000 who applied on Tuesday meet the criteria set in online recruitment process

FILE - In this Jan. 3, 2006 file photo, Iraq's vice president Adel Abdul-Mahdi is seen during an interview with The Associated Press in Baghdad, Iraq. Iraq's new president Barham Salih, on Tuesday, Oct.2, 2018 has tasked veteran Shiite politician Adel Abdul-Mahdi with forming a new government nearly five months after national elections were held.  (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)
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More than 36,000 Iraqis put themselves forward for posts in the country's next cabinet on the first day Prime Minister designate Adel Abdul Mahdi began accepting applications online.

Mr Abdul Mahdi launched a website, iraqcabinet2018.com, on Tuesday to give candidates three days to register for ministerial posts, amid a struggle in Baghdad to overcome political differences and forge a viable government.

Applicants have until 4pm on Thursday to submit their nominations.

"Tuesday's statistics for the nominations of governmental posts showed that 36,006 individuals from around the country registered their online application. Over 9,000 qualify for ministerial positions and 23 per cent of candidates held graduate degrees," Mr Abdul Mahdi's office said on Thursday morning.

The novel online application process is part of the prime minister designate's attempt to move away from the corruption and sectarian and vested interests that influenced the formation of previous governments.

Mr Abdul Mahdi is widely seen as a capable technocrat who is unaffiliated with any party and has a reputation for secularism. He was appointed prime minister designate on October 2 and has until November 1 to present his new government to parliament.

His office said 97 per cent of ministerial applicants on Tuesday were not affiliated to political parties, and 15 per cent were women.

The total number of applications will be revealed on Friday.

Beside submitting their personal data and stating whether they belong to any political party, candidates must say which ministry they wish to head and write a short statement of their vision of what makes a "successful leader" and "how to manage teams effectively".

Mr Abdul Mahdi has said previously that he will not consider past ministers for posts in his government.

"Success of the new government cannot be achieved without the genuine support and inclusion of the public," he said.

On Wednesday he demanded in parliament that the public be given access to Baghdad's Green Zone, the high-security area of the capital where government ministries and foreign embassies are located, saying it would break the barrier between the people and officials.

The next Iraqi government faces a massive challenge to rebuild the country after a war against ISIS that has devastated large areas of the country and displaced millions of people, while reviving a troubled economy dependent on oil revenue.


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