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Iraqi Parliament Examines Reform Proposals

  • Edward Yeranian

Demonstrators chant in support of Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al Abadi as they wave national flags during a demonstration at Tahrir Square in Baghdad, Iraq, August 9, 2015.

Demonstrators chant in support of Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al Abadi as they wave national flags during a demonstration at Tahrir Square in Baghdad, Iraq, August 9, 2015.

Following the announcement of a plan by Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi to reform the country's political system and weed out corruption, the proposal has received mixed reviews from Iraq's politicians.

Scattered protests against corruption continued in several Iraqi cities as a heat wave and power cuts added to the pressure on the government to take action.

A plan to eliminate the positions of three vice presidents and three deputy prime ministers has met with opposition from some political leaders and kudos from others. Iraqi state TV spoke with people in the street in several cities, claiming the public supports the reform plan.

Parliament speaker Selim al Jabouri said Monday at a press conference he would meet with several political groups to discuss the government's reform plan, before proceeding to vote on Tuesday. He added that the vote would include a package of different reforms.

Abadi told journalists the current set of reforms needs to be approved so services to the Iraqi people can be improved, and so the level of corruption can be reduced. He also said further reforms will be presented in the near term and efforts on that front will continue.

Some pushback

Iyad Allawi, whose position as one of Iraq's three vice presidents will be eliminated in the government reform package, told journalists Monday the plan is unconstitutional.

He said what is taking place is a clear breach of the constitution, but he insisted the government should have three months to implement the demands of the people before stepping aside for early elections, no matter what the consequences.

Former Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki also insisted Monday his Dawaa political party would support Abadi's reform plan, but he called for a new government of technocrats to replace the current government.

Shi'ite cleric Muqtada Sadr, whose supporters have swelled the ranks of those protesting in the streets in recent days, called for the protest movement to continue if parliament did not approve the government's reform package.

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