The Iraqi parliament has approved a set of proposals by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi that aim to battle corruption and reduce government costs.
In an effort to implement a series of political reforms Abadi announced early Sunday he was eliminating the posts of vice president and other high-ranking positions, and reducing the excessive number of official bodyguards.
Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri said he hoped that “today’s move will be the first and not the last to continue in the path of reform with the same spirit and without any hesitation”.
Abdul-Sattar Al Birqdar, spokesman for Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council, said the public prosecutor had ordered a corruption investigation into Araji.
Mr Juburi said a complementary plan containing even more reforms was needed, and called on Mr Abadi to sack ministers who were guilty of negligence and corruption.
The parliamentary plan was also read and approved without debate, and the session – most of which was taken up by the reading of the two plans – ended some 30 minutes after it began.
Abadi may also face opposition from Kurdish leaders, who have expressed concern that the removal of an ethnic quota system would weaken their power and solidify Shiite rule.
Al-Abadi’s suggested reforms include cancelling several ministries and independent commissions while merging others, freezing the finance privileges of all officials, retraining policemen so they can fight the Islamic State group, limiting the number of the advisors of each governmental branch (parliament, cabinet and president), reactivating foreign investment and fixing the energy sector. “The cabinet has made a big mistake by voting on the reforms”, he insisted. The cleric urged the premier to resolve internal issues in the government.
Amid a major heatwave that has seen temperatures top 50 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit), protesters have railed against the poor quality of services, especially power outages that leave just a few hours of government-supplied electricity per day.