Prominent Shiite cleric and politician Muqtada al-Sadr, the leader of Iraq's Sairoon movement, has called on Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi to finalize his cabinet lineup.
In a statement released yesterday on social media, al-Sadr said Iraq should not be "governed from overseas" and should, therefore, safeguard its independence and sovereignty. "I urge the prime minister to move swiftly to fill the cabinet posts that are still vacant, except for those of defense and interior," he said.
Al-Sadr went on to propose that the two strategic portfolios be given to military commanders who led Iraq's three-year fight against Daesh which finally ended late last year with the army's capture of Mosul.
Last month, Abdul-Mahdi, an independent politician, was given the go-ahead by parliament to draw up a government. Since then, however, only 14 of the prime minister's 22 proposed cabinet ministers have been confirmed by parliament, with the eight remaining portfolios, including those of defense and the interior, remain vacant.
Sunni groups cannot agree on a single candidate for the post of defense minister, while al-Sadr, whose Sairoon coalition dominated Iraq's May 12 parliamentary poll, rejects the candidate for interior minister proposed by Faleh Fayyad, a leading politician close to Iraq's Hashd al-Shaabi group.