Iraqi parliament completes 22-member new government

Iraq’s parliament has given its vote of confidence to seven cabinet ministers, including the key oil and foreign affairs posts, completing the 22-member government of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

Ihsan Ismaeel, the former head of the Basra Oil Company (BOC), was appointed minister of oil of OPEC’s second-largest producing country.

He will inherit a challenging portfolio, as Iraq is struggling to cope with a collapse in crude prices and a decision by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to cut production.

Low revenues have been catastrophic for Iraq, which relies on oil sales to fund more than 90 percent of its budget.

Fuad Hussein, who served as finance minister in the previous government, returns to the cabinet but this time to head the ministry of foreign affairs.

A Kurdish veteran politician known to be close to Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani, Hussein is the only member of the old government to join the new line-up.

MPs also approved Kadhimi’s picks for ministers of trade, agriculture, culture, justice and migration.

“My cabinet is now complete with today’s vote. This is vital in implementing our program and delivering on our commitments to our people — who are waiting for actions, not words,” Kadhimi said in a tweet on Saturday.

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