Iraq Approves New Government, Ending Year-Long Deadlock

Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, new Iraqi prime minister

Iraq’s parliament has approved a new government, bring an end to a year-long crisis caused by contested elections.

The new government will be headed by Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, who was previously Iraq’s minister of human rights as well as minister of labor and social affairs.

During the vote by parliament Sudani’s 21 ministry picks were approved. He appointed Hayan Abdul Ghani, the former head of the state-run South Gas Company (SGC), as oil minister. Fuad Hussein was retained as foreign minister for a second term and Taif Sami was named finance minister.

Sudani pledged to reform the economy and fight corruption, improve deteriorating services publics, and combat poverty, unemployment, and other issues.

His office released a statement following the vote, saying that “The government of Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani received the confidence of National Assembly.”

The majority of the 253 present lawmakers voted to appoint the 21 Ministers. Two posts, the construction and housing ministry or the environment ministry, remained undecided. The approved lineup meets requirements for minimum cabinet size despite those two unresolved appointments.

Al-Sudani was selected earlier this month to form the new government after months of infighting among key factions that had paralyzed Iraqi politics.

Thursday’s parliamentary vote follows a year-long deadlock after an election in which Moqtada al-Sadr, a populist Shia Muslim cleric, was the largest winner. However, he failed to win support to form a government.

Sadr withdrew his lawmakers in August and stated that he would leave politics. This triggered the worst violence in Baghdad in years, with loyalists to the cleric storming government buildings fighting rival Shia groups.