Abadi to bring in ‘technocrats’ in cabinet reshuffle
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says he would carry out a sweeping reshuffle of his cabinet to enhance the country’s ailing economy and help fight corruption.
“Out of my responsibility … to lead the country to safety, I call for a radical cabinet reshuffle to include professionals, technocrats and academics,” Abadi said in a televised speech on Tuesday.
During his speech which focused largely on economic challenges facing the oil-rich country, Abadi said the reshuffle would replace ministers chosen by political blocs and approved by parliament in accordance with the constitution.
The Iraqi premier called on the parliament “and all the political blocs to cooperate with us in this serious stage.”
He gave no details about the timing of the changes in the administration or what positions would be affected, but said he would soon take decisions, including ones related to countering corruption.
Earlier last month, Abadi pledged to stamp out corruption in 2016, following a criticism by Iraq’s senior Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who said his government has done little to combat graft.
“2016 is the year of eliminating corruption, there is no such things as acceptable corruption and non-acceptable corruption,” Abadi said.
In a sermon in August 2015, Ayatollah Sistani called on Abadi to resolve internal issues in the government.
Abadi assumed power in 2014 pledging tough action against corruption. In response to Ayatollah Sistani’s call, he promised to combat graft and prepare a comprehensive reform plan.
Findings of an ad-hoc parliamentary committee have shown that corruption within the officers’ corps was one of the reasons the Iraqi military failed to counter the quick advance of the Daesh Takfiri terrorists in the summer of 2014.
Violence has plagued the northern and western parts of Iraq ever since Daesh launched its offensive in June 2014. Iraq’s army soldiers and fighters from allied Popular Mobilization Units are currently battling to win back militant-held regions in joint operations.