Baghdad, Asharq Al-Awsat—The Iraqi government approved a draft unified retirement law following protests against exclusive privileges granted to the country’s politicians, including those serving in the presidency, cabinet and the parliament as well as members of the local and municipal councils.
In a televised speech following a regular cabinet session, the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki said on Tuesday: “The cabinet has approved in its regular session held today a draft public retirement law which it submitted to the parliament to vote.”
“The law addresses all issues relating to those who are at the age of retirement but are still in service or those who have already retired, as well as rights of the members of the elected councils and the Iraqi parliament,” Maliki announced.
He added: “The law regulated the issue of retirement for all government servants according to the law and the constitution . . . starting from the most junior to the most senior government servant,” highlighting that the “draft law took into account just distribution of pensions.”
Dr. Ali Al-Anboori, an activist and one of the organizers of last week’s protest, said that he welcomed “the quick response to one of the most important demands of the Iraqi people; namely, to abolish huge class differences,” adding, “We demand more transparency in dealing with this issue given it has become of public concern.”
Anboori said: “Our main demand is that the draft law the cabinet approved should not be directly submitted to the parliament before it is shown to legal experts and civil activists.”
In related news, Mohamed Al-Khaledi, Iraq’s parliamentary rapporteur, denied that the parliament refused to discuss the demands of the protesters.
Speaking exclusively to Asharq Al-Awsat, Khaledi said: “What happened is that the head of the parliament tasked security and defense committees as well as the legal committee with examining the demands and . . . submit them to the parliament during the next session to be studied more comprehensively.”