Iraq electricity minister sacked following anti-corruption protests

Iraq electricity minister sacked following anti-corruption protests
Iraq's prime minister has removed the country's energy minister from government after three weeks of protests.
1 min read
29 July, 2018
Protesters demanded the removal of Qassem al-Fahdawi from his post [AFP]

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Sunday sacked his minister of electricity, his office said in a statement, following weeks of protests against corruption and chronic power outages.

Abadi's office announced that Qassem al-Fahdawi was removed from his post "of the deterioration in the electricity sector".

Iraq has been gripped by three weeks of protests against 
power shortages, unemployment, a lack of clean water and state mismanagement. Protesters had also demanded the removal of Fahdawi from his post.

The unrest, which was sparked by Iraq's chronic power shortages, began in the oil-rich southern Basra province and spread to other provinces, including the capital Baghdad.

The shortages have forced Iraqis to buy generators from private entrepeneurs. 

Despite Iraq's government dedicating a total of $40 billion to rebuild the country's power network since 2003, many households continue to get only a few hours of electricity a day.

It is widely believed that large portions of the funds were embezzled, with at least two previous electricity ministers having been accused of corruption, including over fake contracts worth millions of dollars.

Iraq has been gripped by weeks of protests and political tensions as the country awaits the results of a partial recount of May 12 elections. At the same time, the country's political factions are jostling to cobble together a coalition.