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Iraqi Parliament Confirms Government, But Some Posts Left Unfilled

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi

Iraq's parliament voted early on October 25 to confirm Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi's new government while leaving key cabinet posts unfilled.

The legislature voted to confirm 14 of Abdul-Mahdi's 22 cabinet nominees, enough to ratify a government. But lawmakers failed to vote on ministers of defense, justice, and interior, among other key appointments.

Lawmakers from the Islah bloc -- the largest in parliament -- complained that they were not given enough time to review the nominees, named only hours before the vote.

Lawmakers were handed one page resumes to review for each.

Abdul-Mahdi, a former oil and finance minister, was designated prime minister on October 3, promising to install a government of "technocrats" to reform the country's ailing public sector.

Iraq is consistently ranked among the most corrupt countries globally, and frustration over chronic power cuts and water pollution sparked riots in the south this summer.

With the new cabinet, he has partially filled his promise.

His electricity minister, Luay al-Khateeb, is the executive director of the respected Iraq Energy Institute. But his nominee for the Interior Ministry, Falih al-Fayadh, formerly the head of the country's Iran-linked Popular Mobilization Forces militias, did not come up for a vote.

Abdul-Mahdi nominated two women to his cabinet. Lawmakers declined to vote on either.

Abdul-Mahdi will himself hold the portfolios of defense, justice, and others until parliament votes to approve his nominees.

The lawmaking body is scheduled to reconvene on November 6, though there is no constitutional deadline to confirm the appointments.

Former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki went without ministers of defense or interior for the whole of his second term, from 2010 to 2014.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters