Iraq parliament approves premier’s reforms
The Iraqi parliament has approved a set of proposals by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi that aim to battle corruption and reduce government costs.
Iraqi Parliament speaker Salim al-Juburi said Tuesday that Iraqi lawmakers had “unanimously approved” the plan, with 297 MPs in the 328-member chamber in attendance.
During the parliament session, Juburi thanked the Iraqi clerics and protesters for their efforts to help uproot corruption in the Arab country, saying the Iraqi legislative branch represents the people, and it is obliged to meet the nation’s demands for the implementation of anti-corruption reforms.
The parliamentary vote came after the Iraqi parliament’s presiding board attended a session earlier in the day to look into the reform plans put forward by Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi two days ago.
As part of the comprehensive reform plan, two key state positions of vice president and deputy prime minister will be cancelled.
The measure is based on a reform plan called for by Iraq’s most senior Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, on August 7. The cleric urged the premier to resolve internal issues in the government.
On Monday, Juburi called on Abadi to expand his reform plans in the government system, saying the premier should sack corrupt and negligent ministers.
“We asked the prime minister to dismiss a number of ministers who are clearly guilty of dereliction, negligence and corruption,” Juburi said in a televised statement.
The proposed plan also calls for a “comprehensive and immediate reduction” in the number of bodyguards of the president, ministers, parliamentary speaker, members of parliament and prime minister.
The bodyguards would be moved to the defense or interior ministries based on their training, where they will defend the country and its people, the statement said, adding that ministerial positions as well as managerial and consultancy posts will be purged of political and sectarian appointments.
The developments come as thousands of people have taken to the streets in various Iraqi cities in recent days, demanding the Baghdad government to tackle corruption and improve the quality of water and electricity services.
The demonstrations came after Iraqis suffered long hours of electricity and water outages amid a major heatwave that saw temperatures top 50 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit).