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Iraq PM to Name Cabinet Monday: Aide - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al- Maliki speaks to the press in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, March 26, 2010. (AP)

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al- Maliki speaks to the press in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, March 26, 2010. (AP)

BAGHDAD, (AFP) — Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki will present his cabinet on Monday, an aide said on Saturday, potentially bringing an end to nine months of political impasse after inconclusive March elections.

The announcement came as parliament voted to overturn controversial bans placed earlier this year on three members of a Sunni-backed political bloc for their alleged ties to ex-dictator Saddam Hussein’s Baath party.

“Mr Maliki has officially asked to present his cabinet to parliament on Monday,” the aide told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Maliki’s State of Law coalition won 89 seats in Iraq’s March 7 elections, two fewer than the Iraqiya bloc of ex-premier Iyad Allawi. However, neither won enough for a parliamentary majority, triggering an impasse that is only now being resolved.

A power-sharing deal last month finally broke the deadlock, with Maliki being named Prime Minister-designate on November 25 and given 30 days to name his government.

As a condition for agreeing to the deal, Allawi demanded that pre-election bans on several of his bloc’s members for alleged ties to Saddam’s regime be overturned, and a new statutory body be created to oversee security matters with him at the helm.

As a result, three members of Iraqiya had their bans overturned in parliament on Saturday by a vote of 109-61. Iraq’s Council of Representatives has 325 seats, with quorum requiring 163 lawmakers.

A ban on a fourth politician had been expected to be lifted, but the body that made the original call to bar him, the Justice and Accountability Commission (JAC), failed to send a required letter to parliament asking that his name be cleared.

It was not immediately clear why the letter was not delivered.

Two of those whose bans were lifted and the politician who remains barred were all MPs in the previous parliament, but will not sit in the present one. The overturning of the bans allows them to resume participation in politics.

The bans generated widespread controversy as they were perceived as disproportionately targeting Sunni Arabs, and the two heads of the JAC were themselves running for parliament on a rival pan-Shiite list.

A statement issued on behalf of the three politicians who had their bans overturned, and read aloud in parliament, said they condemned “the Baath party and the practices of the Baath party.”

“We condemn all the icons and the leaders of the former regime who carried out mass killings. We promise not to speak in favour of the Baath party and we announce our belief in the political process and the peaceful transfer of power,” the statement said.

Parliament was also due to begin considering on Saturday legislation to establish the security body, the National Council on Strategic Policies.

Iyad Allawi, former prime minister and head of the secular Iraqiya coalition, speaks during a news conference in Baghdad, December 17, 2010. (Reuters)

Iyad Allawi, former prime minister and head of the secular Iraqiya coalition, speaks during a news conference in Baghdad, December 17, 2010. (Reuters)

File photo of Iraq's Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani speaking at a news conference in Baghdad, October 31, 2010. (Reuters)

File photo of Iraq’s Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani speaking at a news conference in Baghdad, October 31, 2010. (Reuters)

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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