|Iraq MPs approve new government|
|Written by Hemant|
|Wednesday, 22 December 2010|
Iraq's parliament approves a new government including all major factions, ending nine months of deadlock after inconclusive elections.
In a special session, MPs voted for the 29 ministerial candidates nominated by Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, a Shia, who was reappointed for a second term.
But doubts persist about whether all the political groups can work together.
The key ministries of interior, defence and national security remain unfilled because nominees could not be agreed.
The BBC's Gabriel Gatehouse in Baghdad says these portfolios are especially sensitive as Iraq's rival factions watch keenly for signs that the country's security forces might be being used to promote sectarianism.
US President Barack Obama called the approval of the cabinet a "major step forward in advancing national unity".
"Their decision to form an inclusive partnership government is a clear rejection of the efforts by extremists to spur sectarian division," he said.