Iraqi PM Picks Luaiby as Oil Minister

BAGHDAD (Dow Jones Newswires), Dec. 20, 2010

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who won a second term as premier last month as part of a U.S.-backed power-sharing deal, presented his cabinet line-up to parliament Monday, the latest step toward ending a nearly 10-month political vacuum.

"I am very happy," Maliki told reporters during a brief press conference with Osama al-Nujaifi, the parliamentary speaker.

Nujaifi said parliament will convene Tuesday to review and vote on Maliki's cabinet, which in addition to the premiership will include 41 portfolios, the largest number in Iraq's history.

Underscoring the rifts that continue to plague Iraq's sectarian and ethnic political factions, several posts--including the crucial defense and interior portfolio--will be filled by interim ministers because of lingering disagreements over who should get them, according to Maliki.

Abdul Kareem Luaiby is expected to be nominated to lead the powerful Ministry of Oil, according to Hassan al-Sinaid, a leading member of Maliki's coalition.

Luaiby would replace Hussein al-Shahristani, who is widely expected to be nominated for a new, more powerful role, as deputy prime minister for energy.

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