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Iraqi Prime Minister Expected To Unveil Most Of Cabinet List


Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki will unveil the cabinet today
There are conflicting reports about the timing of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's expected naming of the members of a new coalition cabinet -- a step aimed at moving Iraq closer to ending more than nine months of political deadlock following the closely contested national elections in March.

Under a constitutional deadline, Maliki has until December 25 to present his government for approval in the 325-member parliament.

A Maliki adviser said the prime minister would unveil some cabinet picks today as planned, while members of Iraq's parliament said Maliki's announcement has been delayed until December 22.

Maliki's announcement is not expected to include details on who will hold key security posts -- including the interior, defense, and national security ministers -- as these nominees have apparently not yet been decided.

The path toward the new government was cleared after Shi'ite and minority Sunni and Kurdish factions agreed last month on allowing Maliki to have a second term as prime minister.

Iyad Allawi, the former prime minister who heads the Sunni-backed alliance that narrowly won the most seats in last March's elections, has said he is ready to accept a post as head of a national strategic policy council that is being created as part of the power-sharing deal.

compiled from agency reports