Middle East

Iraq begins work on new Cabinet

Kurdish Peshmerga fighters on their military vehicles drive towards the front lines of Mosul villages where they fight against Al-Qaeda-inspired Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), in the Khazer area between the Iraqi city of Mosul and the Kurdish city of Irbil June 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

BAGHDAD: With an increasing swath of the country under the control of Sunni militants, Iraq's politicians have begun the process of forming a new government, after April 30 parliamentary elections.

Iraq's vice president has called on parliament to convene Tuesday, the first step toward forming a new government to present a united front against the rapidly advancing insurgency.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki called for a political solution in addition to military action against the insurgents.

"We should proceed in two parallel tracks," Maliki told visiting British Foreign Secretary William Hague, according to a statement issued by the premier's office.

"The first one is work on the ground and military operations against terrorists and their gatherings and the second one is following up on the political process and holding a meeting of the parliament (on time) and electing a head of parliament and a president and forming the government."

Maliki's political bloc won the most seats in April 30 elections, but he needs support from other blocs to govern with a majority. Critics blame his failure to promote national reconciliation for the Sunni anger fueling the insurgent gains and want him to step down.

Vice President Khudeir al-Khuzaie issued a decree Thursday ordering the 328-member parliament to meet. Constitutionally the next step would be to elect a speaker and two deputies, then within 30 days to choose a new president who will ask the largest bloc to choose a prime minister and form a new government.

- Agencies





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