Iraq's reform package to reduce government expenses, 'combat corruption'
Iraq's Council of Ministers on Sunday approved a package of reforms that would eliminate some state spending and key government posts. (AFP/File)
Click here to add Ali al-Sistani as an alert
Disable alert for Ali al-Sistani,
Click here to add Ayad as an alert
Disable alert for Ayad,
Click here to add Baghdad as an alert
Disable alert for Baghdad,
Click here to add Bahaa al-Aaraji as an alert
Disable alert for Bahaa al-Aaraji,
Click here to add Haider al-Abadi as an alert
Disable alert for Haider al-Abadi,
Click here to add Iraq’s council as an alert
Disable alert for Iraq’s council,
Click here to add Iraq’s Council of Ministers on as an alert
Disable alert for Iraq’s Council of Minister ...,
Click here to add Nouri as an alert
Disable alert for Nouri,
Click here to add Shia as an alert
Disable alert for Shia,
Click here to add Supreme Judicial Council as an alert
Disable alert for Supreme Judicial Council,
Click here to add Usama as an alert
Disable alert for Usama
Iraq’s Council of Ministers on Sunday approved a package of reforms proposed by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ostensibly aimed at improving public services and rooting out widespread corruption.
It does away with the positions of vice-president and deputy prime minister, among other things.
The move comes following two weeks of countrywide demonstrations to protest government corruption and demand improved public services.
Late on Sunday, thousands gathered at Tahrir Square in capital Baghdad to support the reform package.
The crowd in the square chanted: "Bye bye [Vice President Nouri] al-Maliki," "Bye bye [Vice President Ayad] Allawi," "Bye bye [Vice President Usama] al-Nujayfi," "This nation is with you, brave Abadi," and "We are with you, Abadi, against the burglars."
According to a Sunday statement issued by the prime minister’s office, 31 government ministers met for an extraordinary session in Baghdad during which the vast majority of them approved the reform package, which contained the following six points:
Firstly, it calls for reducing the size of the security details attached to top government officials and reassigning them to the state security organs (army, police, etc.) from which they were drawn.
Secondly, it calls for the elimination of “special funds” that had been allocated to various state institutions.
Thirdly, it calls for the creation of a “professional committee” of technocrats, members of which are to be appointed by Iraq’s council of ministers. This committee is to be tasked with appointing senior government officials according to their qualifications rather than “political or sectarian” affiliations.
Fourthly, it calls for improving public services by reducing government expenses and enhancing public-sector efficiency — although it does not provide specific details as to how this would be achieved.
Fifthly, it calls for the “immediate” elimination of the posts of vice-president and deputy prime minister.
And finally, it calls for investigations — to be conducted by judicial figures “known for their total impartiality” — into longstanding allegations of government corruption.
The document concludes by noting that the above-mentioned points had been “called for by the highest religious authority” — a reference to Iranian-born Shia cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani — and were based on the “demands of the people to combat corruption and realize social justice.”
According to Iraq’s constitution, the prime minister’s reform package must now be referred to parliament for ratification, after which it will go into effect.
Notably, a spokesman for Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council announced the same day that Deputy Prime Minister Bahaa al-Aaraji had been referred to court to face corruption charges.
- Al Tayer bucks the US department store trend with Bloomingdale's Kuwait opening
- Gulf Islamic banks set to outperform conventional banks for second year: Moody's
- Jordan secures EU finance for socioeconomic and environmental programs
- Same-day service deliveries in GCC an untapped market: Wing CEO
- Will terror attacks damper Arabs' appetite for European holidays?
- Iraq strife could trigger higher oil prices - IMF’s Lagarde
- US Assistant Secretary of State urges Arab reforms “from within”
- Full G-20 Statement
- Iraqi men hold placards during a demonstration in support of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's reform plan at the Tahrir Square in the capital Baghdad
- Yemen clamps down on public spending, bans business class travel for ministers