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IRAQ - May 24 - Iraqi Pm Fills Six Cabinet Posts.

PM Nouri al-Maliki announced on Thursday that he had chosen six ministers to fill cabinet posts vacated last month by politicians loyal to the radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. The appointments are an indication that Maliki has temporarily weathered the challenge posed by the withdrawal of one of his key allies from the national unity government. Maliki claimed the six chosen to fill the posts, which include the key health and transportation ministries, were "technocrats". Many Iraqis had previously complained that the Sadrists had misused the ministries under their control, in some cases allowing militiamen to join ministry guard forces and even store hostages on ministerial grounds. The Sadrists pulled out of government last month to protest Maliki's refusal to set a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq. Maliki however had already been planning a cabinet reshuffle to remove the Sadrists and other ministers accused of abusing their posts. In May 24 address, he thanked Sadr for allowing him the "authority" to select new ministers. The PM said on May 24 that he was still planning a cabinet shuffle at some point in the future. The six names announced were Sabah Rasul for the ministry of health, Amir Abd al-Jabbar for transportation, Ali al-Bahadli for agriculture, Zuhair Muhammad Ali Sharba for the tourism and antiquity ministry, Khilud Sami for provincial affairs, and Thamir Jafar al-Zubaidi for the ministry of civil society. Parliament could not confirm the appointment as there were not enough members present, so the vote was postponed to May 20.

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Publication:APS Diplomat Recorder
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:7IRAQ
Date:May 26, 2007
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