Maliki pressed on remaining Cabinet seats

Jan. 4, 2011 at 1:21 PM
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BAGHDAD, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Delays in appointing a minister of defense in Iraq are creating major security challenges for the new government, a member of the Iraqiya slate complained.

Iraqi lawmakers in December ended the longest political stalemate in modern history by backing the partial Cabinet announced by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Iraqiya won March parliamentary elections by a two-seat margin but was unable to secure the support needed to head a new government. The Sunni-backed slate was expecting several key positions in the new government and a spokesman told the Voices of Iraq news agency that Iraqiya was "insisting" that Maliki appoint its candidates for the defense and electricity ministries.

Kadhim al-Shimmary, a lawmaker with Iraqiya, complained that delays by Maliki were leaving the security situation in Iraq "lax and fragile."

He called on Maliki to move quickly on filling the remaining positions in his Cabinet so the new government could get to work on key security challenges.

A roadside bomb was detonated Monday outside the intelligence office for Diyala province, followed immediately by a suicide car bombing.

Diyala province along the Iranian border has been a stronghold for al-Qaida militants and other insurgents since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

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