Iraq’s parliament gives PM deadline to unveil new government

Published March 28th, 2016 - 06:30 GMT
A supporter of Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr sits inside a tent on the fourth day of a sit-in calling for governmental reform and elimination of corruption on March 22, 2016, outside the main gates of Baghdad's Green Zone. (AFP/Ahmad al-Rubaye)
A supporter of Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr sits inside a tent on the fourth day of a sit-in calling for governmental reform and elimination of corruption on March 22, 2016, outside the main gates of Baghdad's Green Zone. (AFP/Ahmad al-Rubaye)

Iraq’s parliament on Monday voted to give Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi a three-day deadline by which to present his new government or face a vote of no-confidence.

"Thursday will be the final deadline for [al-Abadi] to present his new cabinet," MP Rahim al-Draji told Anadolu Agency.

He said parliament would hold a confidence vote on Saturday if al-Abadi failed to present his government lineup by Thursday.

Al-Abadi has recently come under mounting pressure to replace his current cabinet with a new government of "technocrats" untainted by corruption or sectarianism -- both of which, critics say, have hamstrung Iraq’s previous post-invasion governments.

Earlier this month, supporters of prominent Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr staged massive protests outside Baghdad’s Green Zone to demand a new technocratic government.

On Sunday, al-Sadr began a one-man sit-in inside the heavily-fortified Green Zone -- which houses the prime minister’s office, parliament and foreign diplomatic missions -- to pressure al-Abadi to appoint a new cabinet.

During Monday’s parliamentary session, al-Sadr’s Ahrar bloc -- which holds 34 seats in the 328-seat parliament and three ministerial portfolios in the current government -- rejected a proposal to give al-Abadi a further two weeks to unveil a new government.

Last summer, Iraq’s parliament approved a sweeping raft of reforms proposed by the prime minister. The reforms are aimed at meeting popular demands to eliminate widespread government corruption and streamline state bureaucracy.

By Muayed al-Tarifi


© Copyright Andolu Ajansi

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