Baghdad – In what seems a challenge to the prime minister’s authorities, Iraqi federal court nullified Monday a decision taken by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to cancel the three posts of vice presidents.
On August 09, 2015, Abadi called for sweeping reforms, including cancelling the three vice presidential posts at that time: Ayad Allawi, Nuri al-Maliki, and Osama al-Nujaifi.
The court said in a statement on Monday that Abadi’s cancellation of the posts required an absolute majority in parliament followed by a national referendum.
“The Federal Supreme Court ruled that a decision issued by the prime minister last year to abolish the three vice presidential posts for Nuri al-Maliki, Osama al-Nujaifi and Ayad Allawi is unconstitutional,” the spokesman of the Supreme Judicial Council, Abdul-Sattar al-Biraqdar.
Biraqdar said cancelling the vice presidential posts needs amending the constitution by approval of the majority of the parliament members and referendum of the Iraqi people.
Abadi’s reform plan, which was approved by parliament, also included a reduction of the number of ministries and agencies to increase government efficiency and cut spending.
Abadi canceled the posts last year as part of a wide-ranging reform plan that was approved by his Cabinet and passed by Parliament. It was intended to shore up public support for his government in the face of widespread protests. The reforms came in response to mass demonstrations supported by Religious Authority Ali Sistani against poor public services, power shortage, and prevalent corruption.
Muqatada Sadr refused the court’s decision and considered it, in a statement he issued, a sign of corruption. Sadr called for a mass protest after Ashura on Wednesday to call for reforms.