Baghdad to vote on final six cabinet ministers

Baghdad to vote on final six cabinet ministers
Haider al-Abadi's new technocratic cabinet will face the votes on Saturday.
2 min read
27 April, 2016
Chaos and protests have so far prevented the formation of the new cabinet [AFP]
Iraqi lawmakers will vote on six technocrat ministers in the next few days, in an attempt to solidify a cabinet reshuffle that has caused political chaos in Baghdad for several weeks.

Five earlier candidates put forward for the Iraqi prime minister's new cabinet were approved by parliamentarians on Tuesday as thousands of protesters increased the pressure for reform.

Nominees for the ministries of electricity, health, higher education, labour and water resources, according to MP Sarwa Abdulwahid and two parliamentary officials, who confirmed the news to AFP.

But the remaining candidates were rejected, forcing the PM to once again present additional candidates on Saturday, the sources said.

Chants including "invalid" and "treachery" were shouted for nearly an hour before the PM was allowed to announce the candidates on Tuesday.

Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri then ordered the session to be moved to an adjacent chamber with protesting MPs barred from entering the hall or taking part in the vote.

The protesting politicians - many of whom are allied with former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki - demanded that Abadi and Jabouri step down, as well as President Fuad Masum.

      Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets this week

Iraq has been hit by weeks of political turmoil surrounding Abadi's efforts to replace the cabinet of party-affiliated ministers with a government of technocrats.

Parliament has repeatedly been hit by chaos in recent weeks, with MPs holding an overnight sit-in at parliament.

Brawling in the chamber has also taken place, while outside parliament thousands of protesters demonstrated for reforms, answering a call from powerful Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Ali al-Bahadli, a cleric from the Sadr Movement who was taking part in the reform protests said "we want the ministers to be independent, outside the control of the political parties and parliament".