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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - The Iraqi Parliament is set to convene on Wednesday night to vote on passing Prime Minister designate Mustafa Al Kadhimi’s proposed Cabinet after weeks of political deadlock.
President Barham Salih proposed Mr Al Kadhimi, a former intelligence chief who does not belong to any political party, for the position in early April.
He is the third nominee in 10 weeks to try to form a government as the country struggles to replace outgoing Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, who resigned last November after months of deadly street protests.
Mr Al Kadhimi’s proposed government is believed to have reasonable prospects of securing approval after weeks of political negotiations.
“Al Kadhimi has a good chance of passing his proposed Cabinet today as so far he has the backing of nearly 210 members of parliament,” an Iraqi official told The National.
“We are hopeful that he can pull this through,” he said.
However, the interests of the country's ruling political blocs have stood in the way of several of Mr Al Kadhimi's nominated candidates, with no names yet agreed for the position of oil, foreign and finance ministers.
Mr Al Kadhimi needs to pass at least 14 names out of the 22 positions to form the next cabinet. Under Iraq’s constitution, his Cabinet must be approved by Parliament, or Mr Salih will need to appoint a new candidate.
Pro-Iranian parliamentary blocs withdrew their support for Mr Al Kadhimi a fortnight ago after they reversed their initial position of no-objection towards his appointment and chosen cabinet ministers.
Mr Al Kadhimi indicated at the end of April that he is facing serious difficulties in forming his cabinet. He urged the political blocs to unite and put their differences aside.
Mr Al Kadhimi said the government he is trying to form “has to be up to the crisis” and that he rejects “any pressure aimed at undermining the state”.
He presented Parliament last Wednesday with a program that proposes to restrict access to weapons, curb corruption and hold early elections.
Wednesday's session will be the first to be held since the country imposed a nationwide curfew to contain the spreading of the disease.
Politicians were urged to wear masks and gloves and will be checked when entering the building.
Parliamentary seating has been arranged in accordance with social distancing regulations, with a seat space between each politician.
Updated: May 6, 2020 08:31 PM
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