On Tuesday Iraqi lawmakers unanimously approved the formation of Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki’s proposed government. This brings to an end about nine months of gridlock and is welcome news for many. Although this is a much anticipated occasion, even earning praise from president Obama, it also leaves much left to be desired. Reidar Visser, an expert on Iraq with the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs explains:
With the vote in Iraqi parliament today in favour of around 35 ministers that will serve in the next government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, it seems clear that the goal of satisfying narrow party interests has taken precedence over the idea of creating governance for Iraq. Not only is this an XXL-sized and unwieldy government, there is even more to come: Several portfolios, including key security ones like defence, interior and national security, have yet to be apportioned and are held as temporary deputyships by other ministers pending their allocation to individuals.
To put this in context, lets look at two other countries surrounding Iraq. Saudi Arabia has around 2o ministries and Jordan 25. The new Iraqi government is on he verge of having as many as 40 ministerial posts to dole out, an almost staggering number.
McClatchy’s Inside Iraq Blog went out and asked regular Iraqis about what they thought of the process and the creation of the government. Many cooly dismissed the proceedings, one example being Nahla, a university lecturer from Erbil, who said:
“I can’t see any change. The politicians are making fun of us because they agree always to share power. They are the permanent winners and we are the permanent losers. Unfortunately, I can’t see any hope. The situation will be worse for normal people but better for the Iraqi politicians because they will be richer.”
Stay tuned for more on Iraq’s new government