BAGHDAD (AP) - The long awaited announcement of Iraq's new government set for Monday will be delayed once again over disputes between the parties on how the posts will be distributed, officials said. (Scroll down for photos)
The disagreements are the latest snag following months of delays in putting together a government after inconclusive parliamentary elections in March left Iraq's politics deadlocked.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's advisers Ali al-Dabbagh and Ali al-Moussawi insisted that at least a portion of the new Cabinet will be presented to parliament Monday as originally promised, with more than half the names put to a vote.
Parliament spokesman Omar al-Mashhadani, however, flatly denied that the new Cabinet will be announced.
See the lawmakers who've been announced here (captions by the AP):
Current Premier Nouri al-Maliki, 60, was first installed as prime minister as a compromise candidate in 2006, but the Shiite barely hung onto the job this year when his political coalition fell short of winning the most seats in national elections. He is from a village near the Shiite city of Hillah south of Baghdad.
With his trademark grin and walrus mustache, the 77-year-old Jalal Talabani -- also currently in office -- has positioned himself as a father figure for Iraq. Despite holding a largely ceremonial post, the Kurd has flexed political muscle on some issues. He is viewed with suspicion by some Iraqis who believe the president should be an Arab.
Osama Al-Nujaifi and his brother, Ninevah Gov. Atheel al-Nujaifi, are two of the most powerful Sunni Arabs in Iraq's north and have taken hardline positions against Kurdish power in Mosul. The 54-year-old Sunni speaker was born in Mosul and has a degree in electric engineering.
A contentious anti-Iran Sunni lawmaker, Saleh al-Mutlaq was banned from running in 2010 elections because of alleged ties with Saddam Hussein's disbanded Baath party, but allowed this week to resume his political life under a government power-sharing agreement. He was born in Fallujah in 1947.
The current oil minister Hussain al-Shahristani, a Shiite, will oversee Iraq's lucrative energy industry in his new post. Al-Shahristani was imprisoned for years during Saddam Hussein's regime. He opposed oil deals signed by Kurdistan government. He was born in 1942 in Karbala and studied in Britain, Russia and Canada
Articulate and accessible to reporters, Hoshyar Zebari, 64, has worked with American officials for years, going back to when he was the foreign spokesman for the Kurdistan Democratic Party. The Kurd speaks fluent English and was born in the northern Kurdish town of Aqra, near Mosul.
A Shiite former prime minister, Ayad Allawi's alliance won the most seats in the March election with strong Sunni support. Born in Baghdad in 1946, Allawi abandoned the Baath party in 1975 and escaped an assassination attempt by Saddam agents in 1978 while he was in London.
Rafia al-Issawi (seen in center) is currently serving as a deputy prime minister. The Sunni was a fierce critic of U.S. troop activity during the first major battle of Fallujah in 2004 when he was serving as director of the city's hospital, claiming more than 600 people – half of them women and children – were killed in the fighting.
Al-Maliki has until Saturday to present his Cabinet under a 30-day deadline imposed by Iraq's constitution. If he does not, President Jalal Talabani will assign another member of parliament to do it.
The constitution does not specify how Talabani would select the next lawmaker to create the government, but it could mean that al-Maliki will lose his shot to remain prime minister after more than nine months of postelection haggling to build enough support from former opponents to remain in power.
Monday's holdup was caused by foot-dragging by the secular but Sunni-backed Iraqiya political alliance that opposed al-Maliki in the March 7 vote.
Iraqiya lawmaker Jabar al-Jabari said the alliance has not yet submitted its candidates for cabinet posts because the group's members are still undecided who should get what.
"We have not yet handed al-Maliki the names because we are trying to come up with the best candidates for the job," he said.
Iraqiya only recently dropped its long-standing demand to form the government, instead of al-Maliki, since the alliance narrowly won the most seats in the election.
Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi, a secular Shiite, said his concession to al-Maliki came only after he was assured about a power-sharing agreement to fairly divide up the posts among Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds.