Another blow for Abadi's reforms as Iraqi ministers-delegate withdraw

Another blow for Abadi's reforms as Iraqi ministers-delegate withdraw
Five nominated ministers have withdrawn from Haider al-Abadi's proposed government ahead of a parliamentary vote over a new cabinet on Saturday, dealing the prime minister's reform campaign a fresh blow.
2 min read
05 April, 2016
Haider al-Abadi will have to replace the withdrawn candidates by Saturday [Pacific Press]

At least five ministers recently nominated by Haider al-Abadi to form part of a new technocrat government have withdrawn their nomination, sources told The New Arab on Tuesday.

The prospective ministers came under pressure from political blocs to withdraw their nominations, said a senior source who asked to remain anonymous.

"Some political factions have necessitated their participation in the new government and [if excluded] threatened to pull out of the parliamentary session on Saturday," the source told The New Arab.

Prime Minister Abadi had reduced the number of cabinet ministers from 21 to 16 as one of a range of reforms aimed to fight government corruption, but is widely expected to face major problems trying to gain approval for his nominations to a new cabinet.

Last week, Kurdish petroleum geologist Nizar Saleem Numan withdrew his candidacy as oil minister in Baghdad's new cabinet, citing political disagreements.

Political parties and national blocs have put forward varied and often contradictory requirements as pre-conditions for supporting Abadi's nominations.

Khalaf Abdul Samad, who leads the Shia Dawa party, said the new ministerial nominations did not adequately represent his party.

Other Shia lawmakers remain divided in their stance.

Kurdish politicians in Iraq insist that 20 percent of ministers in the new cabinet must be Kurdish, while many Sunni politicians are demanding a complete cabinet reshuffle.

Meanwhile, Abbas al-Bayati, an MP from Abadi's own National Alliance coalition, said the coalition had reached an agreement with other political blocs to submit ministerial nominations - under the condition that they meet the specifications set out by the Iraqi prime minister.

Abadi, who put forward his ministerial nominations to parliament on Thursday, will now have to replace the withdrawn candidates by Saturday when a vote over the new cabinet is set.