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Iraqi Parliament Approves New Government Under Kadhimi

Iraq’s legislature approved a new government on Wednesday, to be headed by Mustafa al-Kadhimi, the country’s intelligence chief and a former journalist. Kadhimi’s candidates for the interior, defense, finance and electricity portfolios in the cabinet passed with votes from a majority of lawmakers present. However, parliament rejected candidates for the justice, agriculture and trade ministries, and voting on the oil and foreign ministries was delayed, so those positions will remain unfilled for now. “The security, stability and blossoming of Iraq is our path,” Kadhimi wrote on his Twitter account after parliament voted for his cabinet. Kadhimi said the new government’s priorities would include battling the coronavirus pandemic and bringing to justice those who had killed protesters in the anti-government unrest that brought down the previous government. The novel coronavirus has caused a global recession, reducing the demand for oil, Iraq’s principal source of revenue, and sending its price into a tailspin. A caretaker government under interim Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi has run Iraq for the past six months. Abdul-Mahdi resigned last year in the wake of mass demonstrations, with protestors demanding that the ruling elite be removed from power, accusing it of corruption, poor economic performance and excessive Iranian influence.