The Challenge of Trimming the Cabinet

Credit must go to Nouri al-Maliki for admitting publicly that the number of ministries is a burden on the state.

The Prime Minister's proposal to reduce the number in a two-stage process, the first of which will still see 29 ministers retain their positions, seems at first glance to be a move in the right direction.

But working out the details will be exceptionally difficult; remember how long it took to form a government in the first place? Many of those positions were created not because Iraq needed them, but because of the desire to balance power and prestige among the political factions.

Tampering with that delicate balance will require a sensitive touch if it is not to be seen as a power grab, and for the sake of a more efficient public service we wish the Prime Minister well.

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