Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Adil Abdul-Mahdi met with first deputy speaker Hassan al-Kaabi on Wednesday. Photo: Abdul-Mahdi/Facebook
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – So far, 36,006 people have applied for a post in Iraq’s new cabinet, using the website set up by Prime Minister-designate Adil Abdul-Mahdi.
The majority of applicants, 97 percent, are independents, according to figures released by Abdul-Mahdi on Facebook on Wednesday.
was opened for applications on Tuesday and will close Thursday at 4 pm.
The most popular ministries are education, followed by health and environment. The ministry of information technology has received the fewest number of applicants, followed by the water ministry.
Some 15 percent of applicants are women.
Abdul-Mahdi has been given a free hand to pick his cabinet and he has taken a step away from the traditional divvying up of power among the establishment Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds. He opened the application process to the public, saying he wanted to prevent a “monopoly of power.”
In addition to the website, he has asked each party to give him five candidates per ministry, but stipulated that he must be free to pick whomever he wants, without intervention from parties.
The UN has said it sees encouraging signs as the government comes into shape, pointing to the appointment of women to two senior parliamentary posts.
Almaz Fadel Kamal is chair of the parliament’s temporary legal committee and Khadija Ali is parliamentary rapporteur.
“Encouraging steps for women in politics, thanks to 1st Deputy Speaker Hassan al-Kaabi's efforts. Hopeful that a woman will be the permanent head of the Legal Committee and more women will assume leadership roles in other key parliamentary committees,” the UN mission in Iraq (UNAMI) tweeted on Wednesday.
UNAMI is backing a joint Canada-World Bank venture to empower
Iraqi women economically and politically.
From the four Kurdistan Region provinces, 448 people have applied for cabinet posts.
Kurdish parties in Baghdad are still divided and Abdul-Mahdi has not yet entered into extensive talks with them.
“The most important thing for us Kurds is, until he [Abdul-Mahdi] is ready, we establish unity and not go into talks in disunion,” said Arez Abdullah, PUK leadership council member.
After the May election, the KDP and PUK went to Baghdad united. However, their relationship broke down over a disagreement over the post of the Iraqi presidency.
“The PUK started with a wrong step. Now this unity has become very difficult,” a KDP leadership council member who wished to remain anonymous told Rudaw.
KDP MP Viyan Sabri said that positions in the government are being allocated via a point system. A deputy prime minister position is worth 10 points, a senior ministry is five points, and a service ministry is four.
“The KDP has 13 points. It can obtain the deputy prime minister’s [position] and a senior ministry,” she told Rudaw.
The PUK’s Abdullah said they would back the KDP taking a senior ministry, but they also need to work with other Kurdish parties in Baghdad.
“If the KDP wants to also obtain a senior ministry, the KDP and PUK can hold talks and there won’t be any problems, but it is important that we hold talks with other political parties of the Kurdistan Region,” he said.