Iraqi parliament approves former South Oil head as oil minister

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 15, 2016 5:35 AM

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's parliament approved on Monday the appointment of Jabar Ali al-Luaibi, a former head of state-run South Oil Company, as oil minister in an overhaul of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's cabinet, state television said.

Luaibi is one of six candidates Abadi nominated to fill vacant ministerial jobs. Parliament approved five of them including Luaibi, in a session in Baghdad, state TV said. The only rejected nominee was Abadi's pick for trade minister.

South Oil is the company that produces most of the OPEC nation's crude.

Abadi announced earlier this year his intention to overhaul the cabinet by appointing independent technocrats as ministers.

The move is part of a plan to combat rampant corruption that thrives on a system of patronage that allows large political groups to amass wealth and influence.

Demonstrations held by supporters of powerful Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in support of anti-graft reforms turned violent in May, after influential political groups blocked Abadi's plan.

Luaibi was on a previous list of ministerial candidates, blocked by parliament in April.

Members of parliament were also scheduled on Monday to question Defence Minister Khaled al-Obeidi, whose post is not one of those Abadi was seeking to change, over alleged corruption involving weapons contracts.

(This story has been refiled to delete duplicate paragraph about South Oil company)

(Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli; editing by Dominic Evans)