BAGHDAD -- Agreement has been reached between the major parliament factions on the distribution of several key ministries and government positions, a senior politician tells RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq.
Khalid al-Asadi of the Shi'ite National Alliance (NA) parliamentary bloc told RFI on December 8 that the ministry of oil will go to his bloc and the ministry of finance will be given to former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's Sunni-backed al Iraqiya bloc, while the Kurds will keep the foreign affairs portfolio.
Al-Asadi said that agreement has also been reached on the NA receiving the ministries of electricity and planning. He said discussions are continuing on the ministry of higher education, to which both al Iraqiya and the NA have laid claim.
Al-Asadi pointed out that the Kurdish bloc wants the ministry of transport, but there are signs they will not insist on it.
He said the new government will have three vice presidents, two from the NA and one from al Iraqiya. The prime minister too will have three deputies, one from the NA, one from al Iraqiya, and the third from the Kurdish bloc. The NA will also have a deputy to the president of the envisaged National Council for Strategic Policy.
Al Iraqiya parliamentary group member Alia Nusayif al Jassem confirmed to RFI that agreement has been reached on the above positions.
Incumbent Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has announced that he has set himself a deadline of December 15 to form a new government and present it to parliament for approval.