Monday, December 20, 2010

IRAQ - Finally, New Government?

"Parliament Vote Puts Iraq Closer to a New Government" by JACK HEALY, New York Times 12/18/2010


Iraq moved one step closer to finally forming a government on Saturday as lawmakers overturned a contentious decision barring three prominent Sunni Arabs from national politics.

The vote in Parliament helped to resolve a furor that erupted nearly a year ago, after an Iraqi panel sought to disqualify hundreds of Sunni candidates from elections because of their alleged ties to Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party.

The disqualifications set off angry demonstrations and accusations that threatened to further marginalize Iraq’s Sunni minority and undermine efforts to form a government that folded in all of Iraq’s ethnic and sectarian factions.

Lifting the ban will allow the three Sunni politicians to hold office, and should help to cement the participation of a large Sunni-backed political alliance in Iraq’s fragile unity government.

It also clears the way for Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki to name his cabinet, potentially ending nine months of feuding and political drift that has followed inconclusive national elections in March.

Mr. Maliki’s allies said he could announce a new government as early as Monday, five days before he is required to do so under a constitutionally mandated deadline.

But on Saturday evening, lawmakers still appeared to be jockeying for control over important ministries that control Iraq’s security forces, oil and public services, as well as other high-ranking positions. It was unclear whether they could iron out their disputes over the next 24 hours.

Humm... Jockeying for POLITICAL power? Sound familiar (Republicans vs Democrats)?

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