New Iraqi government hold first meeting amidst protests


BAGHDAD, IRAQ (BNO NEWS) — Lawmakers and politicians on Thursday protested on diverse issues in regards to the new Iraqi government which was formed earlier this week, the Peyamner news agency reported.

One day after the first meeting, two different protests were voiced. Female lawmakers expressed their disappointment over the lack of female representation in the recently formed cabinet after nine months of deadlock.

Women were given only two ministries in the 44-member Cabinet despite conforming one quarter of the 325-seat Parliament. In addition, the two ministries are relatively minor and they do not have a budget.

As a result, the newly appointed minister of women’s affairs stepped down in protest due to the lack of women in other posts. Another lawmaker, Safiyah al-Suhail, added that approximately 50 female legislators are demanding more posts for women to the Arab League, the UN and the Iraqi political leaders.

Meanwhile, an Iraqi politician said that some seats in the new government were bought during a secret meeting in Jordan. Kamel al-Dulami added that most of the posts given to the Iraqiya List party were in exchange for substantial sums.

Al-Dulami is a member of the al-Hall party, part of the Iraqiya List coalition. His party was given the Ministry of Industry and Minerals and the Ministry of Electricity.

The Iraqiya List party is headed by former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and is the largest bloc in the Parliament. The Iraqiya List was given nine ministries and the posts of vice-president and deputy prime minister.

On Wednesday, the new Iraqi cabinet held its first meeting following the inconclusive elections last March. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told the Parliament that they will focus on security and develop oil, industry, agriculture and electricity.

However, the Cabinet positions are not fulfilled. Only 29 of the 42 posts were allocated and the remaining 13 positions were temporarily given to acting ministers until permanent successors are selected.

Analysts consider that this one-third of the Parliament which was not filled may cause political issues and threaten unity in Iraq. Some of the positions that are still unassigned are the defense and exterior ministers.

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