Iraqi Cabinet still incomplete

June 11, 2008 at 7:26 AM

BAGHDAD, June 11 (UPI) -- An Iraqi Shiite lawmaker said Tuesday the return of the Sunni Iraqi Accordance Front bloc is delayed because of an ongoing dispute over Cabinet seats.

Jalal Ad-din al-Saghier with the Shiite United Iraqi Alliance said the main Sunni bloc, the Iraqi Accordance Front, would not return to the government because the current planning minister, Ali Baban, refused to step down, Voices of Iraq reported.

The Sunni bloc withdrew five ministers and its deputy prime minister from the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in August over a series of political disputes. It had offered a list of candidates for Cabinet consideration in May but withdrew that list over a dispute involving the planning minister seat.

Saghier said "the government decided to give the Accordance Front the portfolio of communications in addition to negotiations on one more ministry as well as the post of an undersecretary for a third ministry."

The communications ministerial seat was vacated in 2007 by Muhammad Taqif Allawi with the Iraqi National Accord of former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.

Taha al-Lihibi with the Accordance Front, however, denied it was offered substitute ministry positions, saying the Maliki government refused its ministers because they "do not want strong personalities" in the government.

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