Fact Sheet: New Developments in Iraq's Nascent Government
On March 28, 2011, more than three months after the seating of the government, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki submitted the names of the nominees for Ministers of Defense and Interior to the parliament for approval. This breakthrough comes after more than six months of debate. The question of who would fill these vital ministerial posts has been a main point of contention in the negotiations over government formation since last fall. On account of the deadlock, Maliki nominated himself as interim Minister of Defense and interim Minister of Interior in late December 2010, when the government was seated. Since that time, he has held these positions in addition to serving as Commander-in-Chief, effectively heading of all of Iraq’s security forces.
Recent events underscore the fragile nature of Iraq’s political system. The disparate and often divergent interests of those in the national partnership government have made it difficult to build consensus. The potential move away from an all-inclusive coalition towards a parliamentary majority may actually provide the means for a functioning government to form. This could also allow for the establishment of a parliamentary opposition capable of checking Maliki’s current attempts to consolidate power; however, this outcome is by no means assured.