Baghdad – After postponing the sessions for almost three months, and after a number of protesters stormed into the parliament, Iraqi parliament granted the approval for five new ministers out of the six suggested by the Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi.
The lawmakers voted on Abdul Razzaq al-Issa as minister of higher education, Hasan al-Janabi as minister of water resources, Jabar al-Luaibi as minister of oil, Ann Nafe Ousi as minister of construction and housing, and Kazem Fenjan as minister of transport, but they failed to vote on a candidate for the ministry of trade.
Member of Parliament Maysoun al-Damlouji told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that Ayad Allawi received a phone call from the PM asking him to nominate a member of his coalition for the ministry of trade, but Allawi refused to partake in this government or possibly any future government because he thought this method is unproductive.
During the session, and while PM Abadi was delivering his speech before announcing the new ministers, he was stopped by Speaker Salim al-Jabouri. Jabouri asked the PM not to use the interrogation for political reasons and to focus on the matters at hand. Abadi seemed embarrassed by this rejection as Jabroui looked tense which only revealed the deep problems between the two.
In his speech, Abadi said that interrogation is a constitutional right and everyone knows it shouldn’t be done for political reasons. He added that it is the parliament’s role and he doesn’t mind interrogation of ministers and officials, but he refuses political investigations.
Meanwhile, leader of Iraqi Turkmen Front MP Arshad al-Salihi said that what happened in the parliament was a political deal unlike what the technocrat candidates claim.
Salihi told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that the five ministers were named because the leaders of political blocs approved them. He added that the sixth candidate was not approved because the ministry of trade belonged to the National Coalition, which was not present and thus did not vote.
When asked about the participation of the Turkmen candidate, Salihi said that they were let down by Abadi after they were promised a minister. He explained that Turkmen are different since they have no minister to represent them, unlike Shi’ites or Sunnis.
According to Salihi, Turkmens wanted to nominate their own minister. He confirmed that this is their right and they won’t let go of it.
Iraqi Speaker announced he had received a signed petition from 63 MPs for a no-confidence motion in the Minister of Defense Khalid al-Obeidi. Speaker said that the motion will be set on the upcoming sessions’ agenda.
Two days ago, Iraqi court issued an arrest warrant for the son of the minister of defense and other officers at the ministry for interrogation in the case of corruption.
Minister of defense had showcased a video showing an employee at the ministry of finance who insisted on meeting the minister of defense to tell him about cases that threaten the security of Iraq and information about corruption cases.
Obeidi said he had to show the video to silence the voices claiming his corruption. Yet, when questioned, the employee mentioned he was asked to say those things by persons close to the minister including his son.