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Iraq Parliament Reconvenes After Wednesday Clashes

  • VOA News

Iraqi parliament speaker Salim al-Jabouri, center, speaks to reporters during a news conference in Baghdad, Iraq, April 13, 2016.

Iraqi parliament speaker Salim al-Jabouri, center, speaks to reporters during a news conference in Baghdad, Iraq, April 13, 2016.

Iraqi lawmakers are meeting again Thursday, in a tumultuous week that saw a three-day sit-in by dozens of lawmakers from across the nation's political continuum.

Parliamentary speaker Salim al-Jibouri called for the session to be dissolved Wednesday, after the conflict over a delayed vote on a new cabinet led to blows and hurled water bottles between opposing members.

The lawmakers who participated in the sit-in in the parliament building have called for the resignation of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and his new cabinet nominees.

The clashes and sit-in began Tuesday after the vote on the cabinet was delayed.

Abadi originally handed a list of his proposed nominees to lawmakers last month, but he faced major resistance as different political blocs wanted to make their own nominations. That feedback process then resulted in the current list of names being distributed throughout parliament.

Experts in government

Abadi has called for the government to be run by experts, rather than politically affiliated ministers, but the political parties pushed back in order to maintain the patronage system they rely on to stay in power.

Iraq's new government will be tasked with shepherding the nation through an economic crisis and confronting deeply entrenched corruption, as well as riding out the current volatile political situation.

In February, Abadi called for “fundamental” change to the government and called for the inclusion of academic and professional figures in the Cabinet.

Since then he has proposed several reform measures that have been delayed or otherwise undermined by parties and politicians with vested interests in keeping the current system running.

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