Iraq adopts transitional government

Moustafa al-Kazimi, former Iraqi intelligence chief, won the confidence of masked and gloved deputies on the night of Wednesday to Thursday because of the coronavirus, forming a government after five months on vacation in a country crossing its worst economic and social crisis.

Of the 329 deputies of the most divided parliament in Iraq's recent history, 255 only had made the trip.

They voted in favor of the new Prime Minister of 53 years, rare political personality to have its entries in Washington as in Tehran, enemy powers but both acting in Iraq .

This vote ends the mandate of Adel Abdel Mahdi, the first head of government to leave his post before the end of his mandate from post-Saddam Hussein Iraq, who has resigned for five months.

The deputies also placed their trust in 15 ministers on a cabinet which normally counts them 22.

Key positions in Oil and Foreign Affairs are still vacant for the time being, even as Iraq is going through the worst economic crisis in its recent history after seeing its oil revenues – its only source of currency – divided by five in one year.

The Interior Ministry returns to General Othmane al-Ghanemi, Chief of the Defense Staff, regularly seen in Syria alongside the Iranians and the Russians to coordinate the fight against the Islamic State group ( EI). That of Sports and Youth to the very popular Adnane Dirjal, former captain of the national football team and that of Finance to Ali Allawi, academic and former minister.

Ensuring that he wanted to manage “the transition” before “the early elections” for which he gave no timetable, Mr. Kazimi said he was aware “of the crises that follow and accumulate for the worst since 2003 “when the Americans overthrew the dictator Saddam Hussein.

In October, Iraq was the scene of a popular revolt unprecedented by its spontaneity and its scale, demanding a complete renewal of the political system and of all its men. Baghdad responded with repression – more than 550 dead – and a plan for early elections without, however, specifying the date or the details.

And since the fall, the country has been stuck in political slump. Parliament only met once recently, earlier this year, to vote for the expulsion of US troops in retaliation for the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad by Washington.

Since then, the deputies have neither adopted the major reforms demanded by the demonstrators nor studied the budget 2020, not yet voted but already cut by the lion's share: that of oil, which represents more than 90% of state revenue.

M. Kazimi also pledged in a speech presenting his government program to “place all weapons under state control” in a country where the rise of pro-Iran armed factions is now a fait accompli.