BAGHDAD : Iraqi lawmakers have approved a new government, ending more than a year of deadlock, but the country still faces many challenges.
Prime minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, 52, who previously served as Iraq’s human rights minister as well as minister of labour and social affairs, will head the new government. Sudani’s picks for 21 ministries passed during a parliament vote on the cabinet. He named the former head of the state-run South Gas Company (SGC) Hayan Abdul Ghani as oil minister, kept Fuad Hussein as foreign minister for a second term, and Taif Sami as finance minister.
Sudani vowed to reform the economy, fight corruption, improve deteriorating public services, and combat poverty and unemployment.
“The epidemic of corruption that has affected all aspects of life is more deadly than the corona pandemic and has been the cause of many economic problems, weakening the state’s authority, increasing poverty, unemployment, and poor public services,” Sudani said in his speech to parliament ahead of the vote.
Sudani is the nominee of the largest parliamentary bloc known as the Coordination Framework, an alliance of Iran-aligned factions. He took over from former prime minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who had been leading a caretaker government, after anti-government protesters took to the streets in their thousands in 2019, demanding jobs and the departure of Iraq’s ruling elite.