200507 Iraq
The speaker of Iraq's parliament Mohammed Al Halbousi meets with Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Mustapha Al Kadhimi before the vote on the new government at the parliament headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq, May 6, 2020. Image Credit: Reuters

Baghdad: Iraqi premier Mustapha Al Kadhimi formally took office early Thursday after parliament approved a cabinet line-up subject to a slew of 11th-hour changes to appease political parties.

A total of 255 of parliament’s 329 members took part in the vote, which was scheduled to take place at 9pm local but began well after midnight to accommodate the edits.

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They approved 15 ministers out of a prospective 22-seat cabinet, with seven ministries — including the key oil and foreign affairs positions — still empty.

The government is tasked with holding early elections, navigating an economic crisis brought on by oil price crashes and coping with the deadly coronavirus pandemic.