Under significant pressure from key factions, Iraq’s fledgling Prime Minister Adil Abd Al-Mahdi finally appointed crucial cabinet positions this week, seven months after establishing a government. Whilst Mr Abd al-Mahdi managed to secure approval for most cabinet appointments (including oil and electricity) last year (MEES, 26 October 2018), the interior, defense, and justice ministries proved highly contentious in Iraq’s deadlocked political sphere. The education ministry is now the only chair left unfilled.

Mr Abd al-Mahdi’s lack of a support base essentially held him hostage to Muqtada al-Sadr and Hadi al-Amiri’s rival blocs – both of which were lobbying to influence the key appointments. Mr al-Sadr recently threatened to bring down the government should key portfolios go unfilled. Mr Abd al-Mahdi’s government looks to have dodged a bullet; now it must survive what will be another sweltering, protest-filled summer. (CONTINUED - 140 WORDS)