Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani,52, who previously served as Iraq’s human rights minister as well as minister of labor and social affairs, will head the new government.
Sudani’s picks for 21 ministries passed during a parliament vote on the Cabinet. He named the former head of the state-run South Gas Co. (SGC) Hayan Abdul Ghani as oil minister, kept Fuad Hussein as foreign minister for a second term, and Taif Sami as finance minister.
Sudani vowed to reform the economy, fight corruption, and improve deteriorating public services, combat poverty, and unemployment among other things.
He also promised 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 corona pandemic and has been the cause of many economic problems, weakening the state’s authority, increasing poverty, unemployment, and poor public services,” Sudani said in his speech in parliament ahead of the vote.
Sudani is the nominee of the largest parliamentary bloc known as the Coordination Framework, an alliance of Iran-aligned factions.
Thursday’s parliament vote comes a year after an election in which populist Shi’ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr was the biggest winner but failed to rally support to form a government.
Sadr withdrew his 73 lawmakers in August and said he would quit politics, prompting the worst violence in Baghdad for years when his loyalists stormed government buildings and fought rival Shi’ite groups, most of them backed by Iran and with armed wings.
Sadr, who has not declared his next move, has a track record of radical action, including fighting U.S. forces, quitting cabinets, and protesting against governments. Many fear protests by his supporters. Sadr appeared to oppose Sudani’s candidacy because he is an ally of former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
The yearlong political paralysis has left Iraq without a budget for 2022, holding up spending on much-needed infrastructure projects and economic reform.
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