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Kurdish-Sunni disputes behind incomplete cabinet lineup: MP

Riyad al-Masoudi
FILE: Saairun Alliance Parliament Member Riyad al-Masoudi
Saairun Alliance Parliament Member Riyad al-Masoudi said on Wednesday that internal Sunni-Kurdish disputes are the reason behind the delay in completing the Iraqi cabinet.

In a press interview, Masoudi said Prime Minister Adil Abdel-Mahdi will not risk submitting candidates in light of Kurdish disputes over the Justice Ministry and Sunni disputes over ministries of defense and education.

Masoudi further pointed out that there are disputes over around 2,000 positions, which created a new political crisis after the majority of coalitions seek to possess these positions that are as important as the cabinet file.

Last October, Mahdi announced that he will occupy key cabinet posts left unfilled by parliament’s Thursday vote on the government lineup.

The lawmakers failed to vote on key ministries, including the defense and interior portfolios, forcing him to step in as caretaker minister.

He initially expected to nominate a full 22-member cabinet, but legislators from Moqtada al-Sadr's Sairoon bloc, former Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi's Victory Alliance, Vice President Iyad Allawi's Wataniya and Sunni Muslim blocs withdrew from the parliament session before voting began, citing disagreements.

Parliament voted in only 14 nominees, leaving key posts, like minister of higher education, culture, justice, and immigration empty, calling for caretaker ministers to be assigned to them.

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