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Iraqi Parliament Partially Approves New Government

The Iraqi parliament has approved a new government headed by the current prime minister-designate, Haider al-Abadi.

In its September 8 session the Iraqi parliament also approved former Prime Ministers Nuri al-Maliki and Iyad Allawi, as well as former parliament speaker Usama al-Nujaifi, for vice presidential posts.

Sunni politician Saleh al-Mutlak, Kurdish outgoing Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari and Bahaa al-Aaraji of the Shi'ite Sadrist bloc were named deputy prime ministers.

Former Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari will be foreign minister.

Parliament reportedly approved all of Abadi's nominations for cabinet posts except for the defense and interior ministers.

Abadi said he was waiting to nominate someone for those two posts pending further consultations and would propose candidates to parliament within a week.

The Kurdish political bloc had debated for hours on September 8 whether or not to participate in the government as the session began, and no Kurds had initially been present at the meeting aside from President Fuad Masum.

The prime minister designate was picked on August 11 as a replacement for outgoing Prime Minister Maliki, who dropped his bid for a third term after Shi'ite, Sunni, and Kurdish political blocs rejected him.

Abadi had until September 10 to submit his government for approval, or Iraq's president must select another candidate for premier.

Maliki, who won the most votes of any candidate in April's national election, was undone by Islamic State's seizure of large sections of northern Iraq and the almost total collapse of the Iraqi military almost three months ago.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, AP, and dpa

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