Iraq finally approves new government with Maliki as PM

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December 21, 2010

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s Parliament approved Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his new government Tuesday, nine months after an inconclusive election left politics in limbo and delayed investments to rebuild the country after years of war.

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Lawmakers voted Maliki and a new multi-party slate of ministers into office, elevating Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani to deputy prime minister for energy, and leaving in place Kurdish veteran Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari.

Highlighting the ethnic and sectarian divides that pervade the war-ravaged country, Parliament had to postpone the vote Monday after last-minute factional disputes and political horse-trading over posts delayed the government’s formation.

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As Maliki read out the chosen ministers’ names one by one, Parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi scanned the chamber for raised hands and said “approved by the majority” each time. The speaker did not ask for a show of hands from those opposing the candidate or abstaining from the vote.

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