Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki (pictured) has backed off threats to fire ministers boycotting cabinet, and has instead named temporary replacements, according to AFP.
Maliki's spokesman, Ali Mussawi, said, "we cannot allow the government's work to stop. Their absence gave us two choices -- either fire them or consider them on leave. The cabinet voted that they were considered to be on extended leave".
Their portfolios were temporarily handed to other sitting ministers:
- Deputy Prime Minister responsible for energy, Hussein al-Shahristani, takes over the electricity ministry;
- Planning Minister Ali al-Shukri [Ali Yousif al-Shakari] takes over finance;
- Trade Minister Khayrullah Babakir Mohammed [Kheer Allah Babakir] was handed the industry portfolio;
- Higher Education Minister Ali al-Adeeb [Ali Muhammad al-Adib] takes over education;
- Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Safaldin al-Safi [Safa al-Din al-Safi] is charged with Provincial Affairs.