Iraqi parliament stops premier from passing reforms unilaterally
Iraqi lawmakers have voted to bar Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s administration from implementing, without their approval, key reforms envisioned in a comprehensive plan aimed at combating corruption and reducing government costs in Iraq.
On Monday, members of the Iraqi parliament expressed their disapproval over the step, and described it as a violation of the constitution.
“What we warned against in our letter to Abadi last week, concerning unilateral reforms, has now come to an end. Under this resolution, there are no more absolute authorities for the prime minister,” an Iraqi lawmaker, requesting not to be named, said on Monday, after the parliament vote.
In the letter sent to Abadi last week, more than 60 members of Iraq’s governing State of Law Coalition threatened to cut off their support for Abadi’s reform plan if he did not seek their consultations.
On August 17, Abadi cut 11 cabinet posts as part of the wide-ranging reform program. The cuts included three deputy prime minister positions as well as several ministries, leaving the Iraqi cabinet with just 22 ministers.
Abadi removed 123 deputy ministers and directors general on September 9.
The plan also demands a “comprehensive and immediate reduction” in the number of bodyguards of the president, ministers, parliament speaker, members of parliament and prime minister.
The officials were either retired or had their posts adjusted by administrative law in accordance with instructions issued by the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers, according to a statement released by the Iraqi prime minister’s office.
Meanwhile, Iraq’s anti-corruption court says it is investigating over 90 lawsuits, some of which against former and current members of the parliament. The court says it cannot summon the lawmakers because of their parliamentary immunity.