Iraq’s parliament on Monday gave Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi until Thursday to present a new cabinet lineup in order to put a fight against bribery and corrupt practices, state television said.
The Shiite National Iraqi Alliance pledged, in a statement issued on Monday, to cooperate with all political parties to complete the cabinet reshuffle within the next few days, according to professional standards. The alliance has also set a mechanism and a timetable to quickly resolve the matter, and to run independent bodies, deputy ministers and directorates so that candidacy be available for all national competencies according to a specific, transparent mechanism.
The alliance also vowed to support the Supreme Council in the fight against corruption using the necessary powers and legislations and to perform his duties in the pursuit of corrupters, and the fight against corruption.
A flash citing its own correspondent called Thursday the “final deadline” for the prime minister, who said more than six weeks ago he would replace ministers with technocrats unaffiliated with political parties.
Powerful Shi’ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr stepped up pressure on Abadi on Sunday by launching a personal sit-in inside Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, which houses embassies and government offices, after his supporters began a sit-in at the district’s gates more than a week ago.
His supporters extended a week-old sit-in just outside the district’s gates, huddling in tents and under umbrellas in heavy rain. They also demonstrated in the southern city of Basra.
“If Abadi does not present his new government by Thursday, then he will be questioned in Saturday’s (parliamentary session),” said Sadr bloc MP Yasir al-Husseini. “This will be the start of a number of steps leading to a no-confidence vote.”
Failing to deliver on long-promised anti-corruption measures could weaken Abadi’s government just as Iraqi forces are gearing up to try and recapture the northern city of Mosul from Islamic State.
Other politicians have pushed back against Abadi’s plan, which would weaken the political patronage networks that sustain their wealth and influence.
Political analyst Fadhil Abu Ragheef said new technocrat ministers would likely come from Iraq’s existing parties and blocs. “They will not bring anything new,” he said. “This is about changing the facade only; the core will remain the same.”