Abdul-Mahdi hopeful he’ll complete his cabinet soon

Iraq’s Council of Ministers could get a little closer to finally being completed with a possible parliamentary vote on some remaining candidates in a couple of days.

“In the coming days, we will submit the names of the remaining candidates… We are moving towards the completion of the formation of government,” Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi told reporters on Tuesday.

Parliament “could” hold a vote on Thursday, he added.

Parliament approved three more ministers in a vote on Tuesday afternoon, leaving just five of the posts unfilled. But filling those five positions will be a challenge – parliament rejected two names and has not agreed to hold a vote on three others, including the security portfolios of defence and interior.

Iraqis are getting anxious, holding protests as the government is still not complete months after the May election and the swearing in of Abdul-Mahdi and 14 ministers in late October.

Abdul-Mahdi tried to put a positive spin on the situation, saying “The council of representatives presented a good example of democracy by the voting and I thank the political parties for this.”

He has earlier said that the remaining ministries are out of his hands are the candidates were selected by parties.

He dismissed concerns that the leaderless ministries had created a “dangerous crisis,” insisting that the government’s activities are proceeding well.

Turkey’s airstrikes ‘illegitimate’ 

The prime minister condemned Turkey’s recent deadly airstrikes within Iraq’s borders. Four people were killed in Makhmour and at least three in Shingal when Turkish jets bombed alleged PKK positions.

Iraq’s Foreign Ministry summoned Turkey’s ambassador to lodge a formal complaint.

“We have not approved the Turkish airstrikes and we summoned them,” explained Abdul-Mahdi.

He conceded that some areas Turkey targets with its airstrikes in “northern Kurdistan” are not under his government’s control, “but this does not give Turkey legitimacy to conduct attacks.”

Any foreign forces or airstrikes within Iraq’s territory must be done with the cooperation of the central government, he said.

Abdul-Mahdi also announced that they have granted Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nadia Murad and her fiancé Abid Shamdeen diplomatic passports. Murad, a survivor of ISIS, is the UN Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking. Source

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