Iraqi lawmakers set to vote for key ministerial posts as country battles militant threat

Iraqi lawmakers have convened parliament to vote on the remaining positions in Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's government, including the critical posts of defense and interior minister.

Lawmakers approved most of the nominees put forth by al-Abadi on Sept. 8, but the various political blocs have failed to agree on a nominee for the two roles that will spearhead efforts to combat the Islamic State group's onslaught across northern and western Iraq. Parliament are expected vote on the candidates later Saturday.

Control over the two powerful security ministries long has been a source of tension among Iraq's feuding political factions.

On Sept. 16, Al-Abadi put forward Sunni lawmaker Jaber al-Jabberi as his candidate for defense minister and Shiite lawmaker Riyad Ghareeb as his pick for interior minister, but both were rejected.