An Iraqi man repairs the wires on an electricity pylon in Baghdad today
Iraq named a new electricity minister Monday after the previous minister was fired over the summer for approving allegedly improper contracts, a lawmaker said. © Sabah Arar - AFP
An Iraqi man repairs the wires on an electricity pylon in Baghdad today
AFP
Last updated: December 14, 2011

Iraq names new electricity minister

Iraq named a new electricity minister Monday after the previous minister was fired over the summer for approving allegedly improper contracts, a lawmaker said.

"Parliament voted by majority to nominate Abdulkarim Aftan as electricity minister," Faiza al-Obeidi, an MP with the Iraqiya list that proposed him for the position, said.

Cabinet general secretary Ali al-Alaak told AFP on Monday that Aftan had submitted a plan to address Iraq's chronic power shortages to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and Hussein al-Shahristani, the deputy prime minister charged with energy issues.

"According to the plan, or vision, he has, it seems good," Alaak said.

Aftan, a 50-year-old chemical engineer by training, replaces Raad Shallal al-Ani, who was dismissed by Maliki in August for signing off on $1.7 billion in allegedly improper contracts.

Ani's dismissal came little more than a year after his predecessor resigned amid protests over poor power provision.

Iraq is attempting to tackle chronic power shortages that leave residents with just a few hours of national grid electricity per day. Production and imports total around 7,000 megawatts, but demand is twice as high.

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