The Iraqi parliament approved the new government headed by Mohammad Shia al-Sudani on Thursday, October 27, ending three years of political uncertainty following the anti-government protests of October 2019. Al-Sudani and his 21-member cabinet took charge replacing the caretaker government led by Mustafa al-Kadhimi.
During his speech in the parliament, al-Sudani acknowledged that Iraq “is already suffering from accumulated crises that have had the most severe economic, social, humanitarian and environmental impact.” The current global economic and political turmoil is adding into the problems faced by Iraqis, he said.
Claiming that corruption is a bigger and deadlier pandemic and the root cause of all of the country’s problems, “weakening the prestige of the state, increasing poverty, unemployment and poor services,” al-Sudani promised that his government will take steps to curb it.
Al-Sudani was designated as prime minister by President Abdul Latif Rashid last week immediately after his election. His candidacy was backed by the Coordination Framework, a broad coalition of political groups led by former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
The Coordination Framework had proposed the name of al-Sudani as prime minister following the resignation of all 73 members of parliament from Muqtada al-Sadr’s party elected in October 2021. Sadr’s party, which had won the largest number of seats in the elections, failed to win the support of the majority to form what Sadr termed a “national majority” government.
Sadr’s supporters had stormed the parliament building in July after the announcement of al-Sudani’s name as prime minister, accusing him of corruption. Later in August, Sadr supporters sat on an indefinite sit-in which culminated in violence in the high security green zone in Baghdad where the parliament is located, killing over 30 people.
Al-Kadhimi, the outgoing prime minister, claimed that his government had been able to revive the Iraqi economy and deal with the political instability that followed the mass demonstrations of 2019.
Al-Kadhimi was appointed as caretaker prime minister in May 2020 after Adil Abdul Mahdi resigned from the post in November 2019 following the protests that started in October over inefficient governance, economic crisis, and external intervention in the country’s politics.
Al-Sudani is the former governor of Iraq’s Maysan province and was the minister of human rights during al-Maliki’s premiership between 2010 and 2014.