BAGHDAD – Adil Abd al-Mahdi was confirmed as Iraq’s fifth prime minister since the Coalition Provisional Authority late Wednesday, along with 14 of 22 Cabinet ministers, with more political wrangling to come.
The new government reflects a broad cross-section of political parties and ethno-sectarian identity groups – continuing a trend of consensus governance that has characterized Iraq for more than a decade, resulting in both broad participation in the political process and dysfunctional patronage-based politicking.
With more than half of his Cabinet confirmed by Parliament, Abd al-Mahdi, a former oil minister and finance minister, was voted into office and has officially taken power under Iraqi law.
Thamir Ghadhban, the widely respected technocrat and former oil minister, will again lead the Oil Ministry and also serve as deputy prime minister for energy.
Fuad Hussein, the ex-chief of staff to former Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani, will run the Finance Ministry and serve as deputy prime minister for economic affairs. Hussein, a member of Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), had been a candidate for the Iraqi presidency, but he lost a vote in Parliament to Barham Salih of the rival Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).
The Ministry of Electricity will be led by Luay al-Khatteeb, who worked for Royal Dutch Shell and then Crescent Petroleum from 2004 until 2009 and is the founder and executive director of the Iraq Energy Institute (IEI), a think tank focused on Iraq’s energy sector.
Mohammed Ali Hakim was confirmed as the minister of foreign affairs. A native of Najaf, affiliated with the Hikma party of Ammar al-Hakim (no relation), he had been serving as Iraq’s representative to the UN.
Other high-profile positions did not get confirmed, including the ministries of Defense and Interior.
Abd al-Mahdi nominated Falah Fayyadh to be minister of interior. A former national security advisor and head of the al-Hashid al-Shabi (Popular Mobilization) commission, Fayyadh ran for Parliament on outgoing Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s list, but was controversially fired from his government post as he appeared to be switching allegiances during post-election negotiations.
Abd al-Mahdi’s nominee to lead the Ministry of Defense was Faisal Jerba, a Sunni Arab from Ninewa province and a member of the Shammar tribe. He is a political ally of former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi with experience in post-2003 Iraq working in various parts of the security apparatus to quell insurgencies.
A full list of confirmed and nominated ministers is below.
Newly confirmed government ministers:
- Thamir Ghadhban, Deputy Prime Minister for Energy and Minister of Oil
- Fuad Hussein, Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs and Minister of Finance
- Naeem Thajeel Al-Rubaie, Minister of Communications
- Bankeen Rekani, Minister of Construction and Housing
- Mohammed Hashim Abdul-Majeed, Minister of Trade
- Mohammed Ali Al-Hakim, Minister of Foreign Affairs
- Salih Hussein Jabur al-Hassani, Minister of Agriculture
- Ahmed Riyad Talib al-Obaidi, Minister of Youth and Sport
- Allaa Abdulsahib al-Alwan, Minister of Health and Environment
- Salih Abduallah al-Jabouri, Minister of Industry and Minerals
- Basim Abid Zaman Majeed al-Rubaie, Minister of Labor and Social Affairs
- Luay al-Khatteeb, Ministry of Electricity
- Jamal Abbass Muhssin al-Adili, Minister of Water Resources
- Abdullah Luaibi Bahith, Minister of Transportation
Nominated but not confirmed:
- Ayad Salih Mahdi al-Sammrae, Minister of Planning
- Saba Khiraldin al-Tahi, Minister of Education
- Qusay al-Suhail, Minister of Higher Education
- Hassan Tuhma Kazar, Minister of Culture
- Faleh Fayyadh, Minister of Interior
- Faisal al-Jarba, Minister of Defense
- Assma Salim Sadiq, Minister of Justice