After months of uncertainty and political wrangling, Iraq has a new government, led by Shiite Haider al-Abadi. After hours in session Monday, the country’s parliament gave its approval to Abadi and several cabinet ministers.
Abadi was nominated to lead Iraq last month, as support for Nouri al-Maliki unraveled in the face of factional strife and the advances of extremists the Islamic State. One month ago, as Maliki attempted to hold on to power, Abadi’s nomination sparked demonstrations by Maliki’s supporters. Today, Maliki was given a vice president post.
The process of forming a new government has been a complicated one, with Abadi tasked with creating new alliances that will unify a nation that’s been fractured by violence and sectarian unrest. Most of the ministerial positions in his government are now filled.
“My government is committed to solve all suspended issues with the Kurdistan Regional Government,” Abadi said in parliament today, according to Al Jazeera.
“His deputy prime ministers were named as Hoshiyar Zebari, a Kurd and Iraq’s only post-Saddam Hussein foreign minister, and Saleh Mutlaq, a secular Sunni Muslim who served in the same position in the last government.”
In a profile of Abadi, NPR’s Parallels blog recently wrote:
“Abadi is a genial electrical engineer in his early 60s who often served as an intermediary for diplomats and Western journalists in Baghdad. He was comfortable in the role, having been educated in England and serving as the British representative of the Dawa party, a Shiite Islamist group, when it was in exile during the era of dictator Saddam Hussein.
“Abadi’s prominence in Dawa gives him credibility with the country’s Shiite majority. Dawa was formed in the 1950s among Shiite intellectuals following the direction of a respected cleric.”