Eleven months after Iraqi’s went to the polls for the country’s parliamentary elections, Iraq’s parliament has named eight new members of its coalition cabinet.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki succeeded in building a patchwork coalition at the end of December, bringing together a number of disparate groups to join his State of Law Coalition.
Although most of Iraq’s highest-profile positions, such as the oil and foreign ministers, have already been filled, two new ministers have now been confirmed and another six candidates named. These include three from the Kurdish Alliance.
The new Electricity Minister, Raad Shallal al-Ani, of the Iraqiya Bloc, takes over the post that has been held by former oil minister Hussain al-Shahristani, now Deputy Prime Minister for Energy. Khairalla Hassan Babekir of the Kurdistan Alliance takes over as Trade Minister.
Al-Maliki’s unconfirmed appointees include:
- National Reconciliation Minister: Amer Hassan al-Khozaie (State of Law party)
- State Minister: Jamal al-Din al-Battikh (Iraqiya Bloc)
- Civil Society Affairs Minister: Dakhil Qassem Hassoun (Kurdistan Alliance party)
- Minister of State: Abdul Sahab Qaraman (Kurdistan Alliance party)
- Municipalities and Public Works Minister: Adel Mahodar (Sadrist Movement)
- Women’s Affairs Minister: Ibtihal al-Zaidi (National Alliance)
Al-Maliki continues to hold his position as acting minister for national security, defence and interior. A planning minister is still to be announced.
Baghdad has also named a new chairman for its Oil and Energy Committee. Adnan al-Janabi of the Sunni dominated Iraqiya Bloc will chair the Oil and Energy Committee, along with deputy chairman Ali Fayad from the State of Law party and Kasim Mohammed Kasim of the Kurdistan Democratic Party.
The committee will look at key legislation covering the oil and gas sectors, including the long-overdue hydrocarbons law, which is designed to outline the role of the federal government, regions, national and international oil companies.
The Iraqi Constitution, written in 2005 following the US-led invasion, contains several provisions that address, often in vague language, the control and distribution of natural resources.
However, the ambiguity of the document, at least in terms of oil and gas, has raised several points of contention leading to deadlock between the federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (MEED 11:2:11).