Thousands apply to be an Iraqi minister

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi

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Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu News Agency/Getty Images

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Mr Mahdi has until the end of the month to form a government

Iraq’s new government decided that a novel way to recruit new ministers was to let interested members of the public apply online, and has been taken aback by the response.

The nominee for prime minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, said on Facebook that “those with the expertise, specialisations and practical experience” should put their names forward on a special government website.

His hope is that this will lead to a ministerial team of high-calibre technocrats, free from the political, ethnic and sectarian tensions that have plagued the country since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003 – not to mention frequent accusations of favouritism, corruption and incompetence.

The government faces the daunting task of rebuilding the country after four years of a war against Islamic State group that left tens of thousands of homes and business destroyed and displaced more than three million people, but the response was nonetheless impressive.

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By the time the deadline elapsed today, 36,006 people had applied. Mr Mahdi proudly posted a breakdown of the figures on his Facebook page that showed considerable diversity in the applications.”Some 97% of the hopefuls are politically independent, 15% are women, and candidates come from all of Iraq’s provinces” the prime minister wrote, adding that no ministerial portfolio was shunned.

The previous prime minister had tried to replace political appointees with non-party experts after mass street protests at the security situation and poor public services in 2016, but was pushed back by the parties in his coalition government.But not all of the applicants will be considered for a job, as Mr Mahdi said only 9,317 had submitted all the relevant documents.

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Iraqi government

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Mr Mahdi posted the figures on Facebook

Reporting by Ahmed Saber and Martin Morgan

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