Iraqi president urges faster govt formation, concerned by demos

Iraqi president Barham Sale

Baghdad ( Iraqi President Barham Salih urged on Saturday to hasten with the formation of the Iraqi government, warning of consequences of renewed protests over poor services in the south.

Speaking during a celebration marking the first anniversary of Iraq’s victory over Islamic State extremists, Almaalomah website quoted the president saying that “the stumbling political process as regards to the formation of the government should not be downplayed, and could not be overcome except through understanding”.

Commenting on the renewed protests in the southern Basra province, the president said “developments in Basra are worrying, and constitutional and legal solutions designed for the service of our people should be adopted”.

Political differences among Iraqi parties that won representation in the parliament polls in May are still in place regarding eight of the cabinet’s 22 portfolios, most notably the defense and interior ministries. While some parties claim some of the missing ministries, others, especially the movement of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, advocate  technocrat, non-partisan figures for the posts.

Iraqis protested in Basra in July and September over poor infrastructure, joblessness and water contamination, with several facilities damaged and a few demonstrators killed in encounters with police.

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