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Iraqi court dismisses parliament’s reshuffle approval

28 June 2016 18:25

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A federal court in Iraq has invalidated a parliamentary session on April 26 in which changes in the cabinet proposed by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi were approved.

“The federal court decided to invalidate the parliamentary sessions of April 14 and 26,” higher judicial council spokesman Abdelsattar Bayraqdar said in a statement Tuesday, referring to sessions in which lawmakers first sacked Parliament Speaker Salim al-Juburi and then approved the changes in the cabinet.

Bayraqdar said the April 14 session, which led to the dismissal of Juburi, lacked the necessary quorum, with only 131 lawmakers present.

He said the second meeting of the lawmakers on April 26 took place in an atmosphere “inconsistent with freedom of opinion.” Bayraqdar said the vote for endorsement of Abadi’s nominees in the meeting was invalid as guards entered the session and some parliamentarians were prevented from attending.

The verdict could be viewed as a serious blow to Abadi’s efforts for introducing a reform-minded cabinet in Iraq. The push came after mass protests in the capital, Baghdad, and elsewhere with hundreds of thousands, mostly followers of the prominent Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, taking to the streets on a weekly basis to demand changes.

The demonstrations escalated last month when the parliament resisted changes, prompting protesters to break into the heavily-fortified Green Zone, where the parliament and government offices are located.

Sadr has vowed to call for a fresh round of protests after the holy month of Ramadan, which ends next week. He has repeatedly criticized the government for its failure in carrying out the reshuffle, saying it bows to pressure by powerful political parties.

Iraq is engaged in a massive battle against the Daesh Takfiri terrorists. The military and allies declared the full liberation of the city of Fallujah, west of Baghdad, earlier in the week. Abadi has warned that the political stalemate could hamper the operations against Daesh.

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