Iraqi parliament approves PM’s reform package

12th Aug 2015
Iraqi parliament approves PM’s reform package

BAGHDAD (AA): Iraq’s parliament on Tuesday approved a raft of reforms proposed two days earlier by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and endorsed the same day by Iraq’s council of ministers.

In a statement released by the prime minister’s office, al-Abadi expressed his pleasure with the parliamentary endorsement and congratulated the Iraqi people.

“I promise to continue on the path of reform even if it costs me my life,” he declared in the statement.

Along with laying down steps for fighting corruption and streamlining state bureaucracy, al-Abadi’s reform package also calls for the “immediate” elimination of the posts of vice-president and deputy prime minister.

According to assembly speaker Saleem al-Jabouri, al-Abadi’s reform package was adopted unanimously in a parliamentary session attended by 295 deputies.

“The Iraqi people had demanded that parliament approve these reforms,” al-Jabouri said.

The raft of reforms includes the following six points:

Firstly, it calls for reducing the size of the security details attached to top government officials and reassigning them to the state security organs (army, police, etc.) from which they were drawn.

Secondly, it calls for the elimination of “special funds” that had been allocated to various state institutions.

Thirdly, it calls for the creation of a “professional committee” of technocrats, members of which are to be appointed by Iraq’s council of ministers. This committee is to be tasked with appointing senior government officials according to their qualifications rather than “political or sectarian” affiliations.

Fourthly, it calls for improving public services by reducing government expenses and enhancing public-sector efficiency — although it does not provide specific details as to how this would be achieved.

Fifthly, it calls for the “immediate” elimination of the posts of vice-president and deputy prime minister.

And finally, it calls for investigations — to be conducted by judicial figures “known for their total impartiality” — into longstanding allegations of government corruption.

The document concludes by noting that the above-mentioned points had been “called for by the highest religious authority” — a reference to Iranian-born Shia cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani — and were based on the “demands of the people to combat corruption and realize social justice”.

The introduction and endorsement of the prime minister’s reform packed followed two weeks of demonstrations across Iraq held to protest widespread government corruption and poor public services.

 

Author: Hatice Kesgin
[Photo: Iraqi parliament July 1,2014. Photographer: Stringer/Anadolu Agency]

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