Iraqi political crisis continues as speaker cancels parliament session

Iraqi parliament speaker Salim al-Jabouri arrives for a press conference in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, April 13, 2016. (AP)

Iraq’s embattled parliament speaker on Tuesday cancelled moderating the day’s parliament session, amid dissenting lawmakers seeking to oust him from his post.

“Parliament Speaker [Salim al-Jabouri] and his two deputies… said they will not perform their tasks pertaining to managing today's session,” the statement released from the speaker’s office said.

“Jabouri, however, will attend the session and he’s completely willing to answer any questions about the crisis,” the statement added.

A large bloc in parliament is refusing to meet under Jabouri's chairmanship, blaming him for not holding a session where they can grill Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on his proposed cabinet line-up.

Jabouri blamed the prime minister's no-show at a session he called for on Thursday.

Under street protests in Baghdad and pressure from the clergy of Iraq’s Shiite majority. Abadi announced a government overhaul in February.

He initially proposed independent technocrats as candidates to try to free the ministries from the grip of a political class that built its wealth and influence on a patronage system put in place after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Abadi then modified his list to include candidates nominated by the dominant political groups, prompting protests inside parliament by lawmakers who say it will again result in corruption.

Corruption and fiscal mismanagement became a major issue in Iraq after oil prices collapsed in 2014, shrinking the state budget at a time when it needed additional income to pay for the war against ISIS.

 

This article was first published on the Arabic website of Al Arabiya News Channel on April 19, 2016.

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