Another brief meeting of Iraq’s parliament came today, with officials deciding to delay the formation of the new government for “several more days” so give parties more time to seek cabinet positions.
Constitutionally, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is supposed to announce a cabinet within 30 days of coming to power, but officials argue that President Jalal Talabani hasn’t officially appointed Maliki as prime minister yet, so the clock hasn’t yet started on this deadline.
The broad power-sharing deal has gotten weaker as time has gone on, with the largest bloc, Iraqiya, withdrawing briefly in mid-November and still fuming over getting only the relatively powerless position of parliamentary speaker in the deal. Other blocs, though expected to fare much better, will likely begin fighting once the cabinet list is revealed, as many different blocs seek the powerful positions of oil and finance ministers.
Since the March 7 election, Iraq has been under the control of a caretaker government, itself led by Maliki, but not empowered to make a number of decisions. Eight and a half months in, this is the longest period in the history of representative parliamentary republics between vote and formation.
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