Middle East News
Top Shiite cleric says new Iraqi government is sub-standard
Dec 24, 2010, 13:14 GMT
Karbala, Iraq - An aide to Iraq's top Shiite Muslim cleric slammed the country's political blocs on Friday for forming a government that is 'not up to the required standards.'
Sheikh Abdel-Mahdi al-Karbalaei, a confidant of influential Shiite spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, said that the new cabinet is 'below the standards' Iraqi citizens had hoped for and suggested it could prove to be weaker than the previous government.
'We do not want to leave the people in a state of frustration, but we are concerned that such standards will have negative effects on the ministries' performance,' al-Karbalaei told thousands of peopel attending a Friday sermon in Imam Hussein mosque in Karbala.
Al-Sistani and his aides have previously used Friday sermons to address ongoing political feuds and the long stalemate in the effort to form a government after elections last March 7.
On Thursday, Iraqiya List party member Kamel al-Dulaimi charged that some seats in the new cabinet were bought by members of the party at a secret meeting at the home of an unnamed Iraqi businessman in Jordan.
Rights groups have also complained that the new government lacks female representation. The previous government had four women ministers.
Iraq's parliament voted earlier this week for a partial government, with around 70 per cent of ministerial posts selected.
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