Iraqi parliament fractured after fights over new cabinet line-up

Iraqi parliament fractured after fights over new cabinet line-up
Iraq's parliament is split as some lawmakers voted to approve a new cabinet line-up, while dissenting MPs disrupted the session by throwing water bottles at Iraq's prime minister.
2 min read
26 April, 2016

Iraqi MPs protest

Iraqi members of parliament approved the appointment of several proposed ministers on Tuesday despite attempts by protesting lawmakers to disrupt the session.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi was at first prevented from announcing the latest ministerial candidates when a number of MPs slammed their hands on desks and chanted slogans.

Chants such as "invalid" and "treachery" were shouted for nearly an hour.

It comes as Abadi comes under increasing pressure from the public to introduce reforms and a new government to tackle corruption.

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 MPs who voted approved new ministers for health, water resources, labour and social affairs, higher education, electricity and culture, a source in parliament told The New Arab.

The source added that the MPs failed to come to a consensus on dismissing the current ministers of education, justice, foreign affairs. The session was adjourned until Thursday, when lawmakers will resume voting on a new technocratic cabinet.

      Thousands of protesters rallied in Baghdad

Tuesday's vote will likely be challenged by the MPs barred from taking part.

The protesting lawmakers - 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.

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.

On Monday, demonstrators - many carrying Iraqi flags - marched from Tahrir Square in central Baghdad to the entrance of the heavily fortified Green Zone where the government is headquartered. Chants rang out that politicians "are all thieves".