Iraq’s top Shi’ite Muslim cleric on Thursday said he had yet to see progress made under new Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, who still does not have a full cabinet due to political wrangling six months after an election.
It was the first comment on the new administration by Grand Ayatollah
Ali al-Sistani, who rarely intervenes in politics but is an influential
figure in public opinion.
Sistani urged lawmakers and the government to work together to “improve
the situation” in the country, adding that the government faced
challenges including providing services to the people.
He made the remarks during a meeting with the head of the United Nations
Assistance Mission for Iraq, Jan Kubis, according to Sistani’s website.
Political infighting is preventing the government from working towards
rebuilding infrastructure wrecked by years of violence including a war
against Islamic State and reforming state institutions that critics say
are paralysed by corruption.
Sistani has said before that the new government should not include
officials accused of corruption or misuse of power, or officials who
promote sectarian separation.
Lawmakers approved a partial cabinet for Abdul Mahdi last month after an
election in May, leaving him with 14 ministers from a total 22 cabinet
The crucial interior and defence ministries are among those still
unfilled as rival blocs in parliament sharply disagree on proposed
A bloc led by populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr says ministers should not
be people who are affiliated to political parties. Iran-backed rivals
are insisting on their own candidate for the interior post, which is the
key sticking point.
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