BAGHDAD, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Iraq's parliament failed to approve Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's candidates for the sensitive posts of defense and interior ministers in a vote on Tuesday, according to state television.
Mithal al-Alusi, a prominent secular politician, said that the main Shi'ite alliance prevented the appointments.
The men - Riad al-Ghareeb nominated for the post of interior minister and Jaber al-Jaberi as defense minister - did not win the needed majority vote, state television said.
Abadi received parliamentary approval for most cabinet positions last week.
The Badr Organization, a powerful political and paramilitary group with close ties to former premier Nuri al-Maliki, which is part of the alliance, has coveted the interior ministry post, and political sources said they were angered by Abadi's choice.
“The National Alliance objected, saying that the position of the interior ministry is their right. They refrained from voting which led to the failure of the candidates to get enough votes,” Alusi told Reuters.
Jaberi is considered a moderate Sunni with strong ties to Islamists who would help foster Abadi's plan for an inclusive government to regain Sunni support, especially in areas where Islamic State fighters are the dominate force.
The nomination of Ghareeb, a Shi'ite, had been seen as a concession to Abadi's own Dawa party, in which Maliki is a member. Ghareeb was also seen as less divisive than Badr candidates, who Sunnis feel are too closely linked to militia.
In his second term as prime minister, Maliki held on to the interior and defense posts despite a formal agreement to give the defense ministry to the main Sunni political bloc, isolating Sunnis. (Reporting by Ned Parker and Saif Sameer Hameed; Editing by Ralph Boulton) ^REUTERS@
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