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Parliament approves Sudani’s government in Iraq

Iraqi lawmakers have approved a new government, a key step forward after bitter infighting between multiple factions and deadly violence following contested elections.

“Our ministerial team will shoulder the responsibility at this critical period, in which the world is witnessing tremendous political and economic changes and conflicts,” Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al Sudani’s office said in a statement after the vote on Thursday. 

Those changes will “add new challenges to our country, which is already suffering from accumulated crises, that have had economic, social, humanitarian and environmental impacts on our citizens”, it added.

It said that Sudani’s government obtained the confidence of parliament, but did not give a breakdown of the vote which took place by a show of hands.

It added, however, that 253 MPs out of parliament’s 329 members were present at the session.

Sudani’s 21-member cabinet is expected to face myriad challenges.

The oil-rich but war-ravaged country is plagued by endemic corruption, rampant unemployment and decaying infrastructure.

Sudani, 52, was chosen to form the new government on October 13 following months of infighting between key factions that plunged the country into political deadlock.

Elections ‘within a year’

The movement of cleric Moqtada al Sadr, Sudani’s rival in Iraq’s majority Shia camp, refused to join the government.

But Sudani had the backing of the Coalition for the Administration of the State, which includes the Coordination Framework, an alliance of powerful pro-Iran factions that hold 138 out of 329 seats in parliament.

Other members include a Sunni grouping led by parliament speaker Mohammed al Halbussi, and two key Kurdish parties.

Of the 21 ministries nominated, 12 posts go to Shia supported by the Coordination Framework, six to Sunni leaders, two to Kurds and one to a Christian woman — one of three females in the new government.

Some analysts say a new government does not mean the end of the power struggle between the Sadr and Coordination Framework camp that spilled into deadly clashes in August.

Sudani has pledged to hold early elections “within a year”.

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