Iraq's parliament approves partial Cabinet reshuffle

Iraq's parliament has approved a partial Cabinet reshuffle, part of a set of reforms proposed by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi that has been stymied by the country's entrenched political blocs.

Parliament spokesman Emad al-Khafaji says lawmakers on Monday endorsed nominees for five ministries: oil, water resources, higher education, transportation, and housing and construction. He says the new ministers have been sworn in.

He says lawmakers rejected a sixth nominee, for the trade portfolio.

Shortly after taking office in 2014, al-Abadi proposed reforms to combat corruption, cut government spending and merge ministries. He had hoped to replace political appointees with independent technocrats who could improve public services, which rapidly deteriorated following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Early this year, he promised a cabinet reshuffle, but lawmakers had repeatedly blocked his efforts.