Iraq: Al-Maliki balks at demands to revise Cabinet list

                             By Haydar Karaalp </p>  <p>BAGHDAD (AA) - Iraq’s former prime minister on Saturday refused to revise his prospective Cabinet list, despite demands from Shia power broker Muqtada al-Sadr, throwing another roadblock in front of efforts to form a government eight months after elections.</p>  <p>The State of Law coalition refuses calls &quot;to replace Falih Fayyad and other candidates for the new Cabinet,” Nouri al-Maliki told a press conference in Baghdad.</p>  <p>He said replacing Fayyad would risk stability in Iraq as it creates a perception that al-Sadr's Sairon Coalition is trying to put pressure on parliament and the government.</p>  <p>Fayyad, former Premier Haidar al-Abadi’s security adviser, was nominated indirectly by the Hashd al-Shabi-backed Al-Binaa bloc for interior minister, but faces strong objection from Sadr’s Sairoon Coalition, which boycotted Thursday’s vote on the Cabinet in parliament.</p>  <p>Last month, Abdul-Mahdi, an independent politician, was given the go-ahead by parliament to draw up a government. </p>  <p>Since then, however, only 14 of the prime minister’s 22 proposed Cabinet ministers have been confirmed by parliament, with the eight remaining portfolios -- including the key defense and interior posts -- still sitting vacant.</p>  <p>Observers close to the government-formation process attribute the delay to ongoing differences between leading Sunni and Shia political groups.

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