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Iraq: Former VP Allawi calls for Abadi’s removal
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Former Iraqi vice president Iyad Allawi speaks to reporters in Baghdad, Iraq, on December 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

Former Iraqi vice president Iyad Allawi speaks to reporters in Baghdad, Iraq, on December 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

Baghdad and London, Asharq Al-Awsat—Iraq’s former vice president Iyad Allawi, whose post was canceled by Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi, has called for Iraqi MPs to remove the PM.

Abadi canceled Iraq’s three vice president posts in August as part of a drive to weed out corruption and trim a bloated governmental apparatus. The move, part of a response to growing discontent on the Iraqi street and ongoing protests, has now met with opposition from the three former post-holders, Allawi, Nuri Maliki and Osama Al-Nujaifi, with the latter two declaring the move unconstitutional.

On Friday Allawi publicly called on the National Alliance bloc in the Iraqi parliament, which includes the ruling Islamic Da’wa Party headed by Abadi, to remove the PM from power and pave the way for fresh elections to decide on a replacement.

A day later Allawi released a statement criticizing some of Abadi’s reforms, including a recent decision to remove politicians’ immunity from prosecution—a move he said would prove to be a “death knell” for the premier.

Allawi said Abadi’s policies were “not in the spirit of reform as [the premier] claimed, and instead pave the way for . . . the spread of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria [ISIS] in the country.”

He added that Abadi’s policies would also increase “sectarianism in politics, the proliferation of arms outside government jurisdiction . . . organized crime, and the government’s inability to protect citizens and foreign workers, leading to a complete deterioration in the country’s security situation.”

Allawi’s statement is a rare act of rebellion against Abadi by a prominent politician in Iraq. However, several National Alliance MPs have come out in support of the prime minister since Allawi’s statement on Friday.

Meanwhile, sources have told Asharq Al-Awsat the move remains unlikely so long as Abadi enjoys the support of the highest Shi’ite authority in Iraq, Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani.

They also said other powerful Shi’ite figures in the country, including the Moqtada Al-Sadr, the leader of the Sadrist Movement, and Ammar Al-Hakim, the leader of the Shi’ite Islamist party the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), one of Iraq’s largest, would oppose the move.

Moreover, no other candidates from the Islamic Da’wa Party would put themselves forward to replace Abadi should he be removed.