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Iraqi Parliament approves new PM after 5 months of caretaker govt

Baghdad, May 7 (IANS) The government of Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Mustafa al-Kadhimi won a vote of confidence Thursday in Parliament, putting an end to more than five months of political turmoil.

Lawmakers approved Al-Kadhimi and 15 of his candidates for ministerial posts, including the key defence and interior portfolios, while rejecting four others and postponing a vote on nominees to head the oil and foreign ministries, reports Efe news.

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The new Prime Minister takes the reins as Iraq struggles to surmount a deep economic, political and institutional crisis after months of protests that left more than 500 people dead and a public health emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Al-Kadhimi and the 15 confirmed Cabinet ministers took their respective oaths of office after getting the votes of all 266 – out of a total of 329 – members present for the session.

“Today, the esteemed parliament has given confidence to my government, and I will work with the honourable ministerial team in earnest to win the trust and support of our people,” the new premier said.

“My gratitude to all of our support, and my hope that all political forces will join hands to face difficult challenges.

“Iraq's sovereignty, security, stability and prosperity are our path,” he said.

Prior to the vote, Al-Kadhimi outlined his plan to rescue Iraq from the current situation, which includes holding fresh elections within a year.

“This government came in response to a social, economic and political crisis,” he said. “To be a solution government, not a crisis government.”

“In order to pave the way for fair elections, the sovereignty of the state in all areas must be confirmed, above all in accordance with the constitution,” Al-Kadhimi said, stressing the importance of the state's monopoly over the use of force and the subordination of the armed forces to their lawful commander-in-chief.

Iraq, he said, must not be an arena to settle scores or a platform for attacks on third countries.

The nation had been without a permanent prime minister since November 29, 2019 when Adel Abdul-Mahdi resigned in the wake of mass anti-government rallies, only to end up leading a caretaker government for more than five months as two other potential premiers failed to win sufficient support in Parliament.

–IANS

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