Iraqi Parliament Approves New Maliki Government

The Iraq parliament has voted to approve the new government of Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, although the key ministries of interior, defense and national security were left vacant.The vote to approve the new Iraqi government brought a sigh of relief to many as it put an end to a more than eight months of political turmoil.

Iraq's top leaders, foreign ambassadors and members of parliament watched as Parliament Speaker Osama Nujeifi called the session to order. Former Prime Ministers Ibrahim al Jaffari and Iyad Allawi addressed the gathering, with Jaffari calling the new government an ""historic accomplishment."" He urged Iraqis to open their hearts and seek the pardon of their brethren for what he called the many trials and tribulations of the recent past.

Former Prime Minister Allawi, whose rivalry with Prime Minister Maliki led to the lengthy political vacuum, told legislators the Iraqi nation is its people and its people are the Iraqi nation. He called formation of the government a new beginning, and asked Iraqis to unite, join hands and participate in governing the country.

Maliki read out the lengthy agenda for his new government, including human rights, battling corruption, improving relations with Iraq's neighbors, boosting security, and expanding services to the Iraqi public.

Iraqi legislators gave a show of hands to approve the government's program before the prime minister read out his list of new ministers, one by one, for approval. "