After months of political inertia, the Iraqi parliament has given its stamp of approval for a new government and also voted for a 43-point program aimed at liberalizing the economy and fighting terrorism.
Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has finally got the backing for a new goverment
After a political stalemate that lasted for nine months following inconclusive elections, Iraq's parliament on Tuesday approved Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's new government, albeit a partial one. A number of cabinet posts will remain unfilled, pending further appraisal of the candidates.
Parliamentarians also voted for a government program which aims to attract more foreign investment and fight terrorism. Al-Maliki's rival and former premier, Iyad Allawi, who narrowly won the election in March but was unable to form a government, said he would support the new government.
"We wish and we hope for this government to succeed in meeting the people's requirements," he said.
US President Barack Obama welcomed the formation of a new government, describing it as a "significant" historic moment.
"Today's vote in the Council of Representatives is a significant moment in Iraq's history and a major step forward in advancing national unity," he said in a written statement.
He added that the US would continue its partnership with Iraq and help to build a peaceful nation "that is fully integrated into the region and the international community."
Britain also hailed the deal, with Foreign Secretary William Hague saying it would allow the new government to tackle the country's problems. "This will reinforce stability and allow Iraq's political leaders to work together for the benefit of their country and people."
Author: Rob Mudge (AFP, dpa)
Editor: Jennifer Abramsohn