Sadr threatens Iraqi government with vote of no confidence

Sadr threatens Iraqi government with vote of no confidence
Moqtada al-Sadr threatens Haider al-Abadi’s government with vote of no confidence if parliament fails to agree on a new cabinet after ministerial nominations were made in Thursday's parliamentary session.
2 min read
31 March, 2016
Sadr called on his supporters to end a two-week sit-in at Baghdad's Green Zone [Getty]
Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr threatened to pull out his ministers and call for a vote of no confidence in Haider al-Abadi's government if the Iraqi parliament fails to vote for a new cabinet.

Sadr's announcement came after the Iraqi prime minister presented his proposed line up for a new cabinet to parliament - a measure the cleric had demanded.

In a televised speech, Sadr called on his supporters to end a two-week sit-in at Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, which was aimed at pressuring the Iraqi government into political reforms.

"End your sit-in before the gates of the Green Zone, with thanks and appreciation to you," Sadr said addressing the protesters.

He called for continued "peaceful protests in all Iraqi provinces every Friday to put pressure on lawmakers to vote on the new Cabinet."

Haider al-Abadi had proposed a new cabinet on Thursday amid the mounting pressure.

Abadi told lawmakers he had reduced the number of cabinet ministers to 16, from the previous 21-member government.

The Iraqi prime minister submitted the names of nominees for 14 ministerial positions, but would not replace the current defence and interior ministers because of the tense security situation in Iraq.

The incumbents will retain those strategic posts, he said, "given the current hard situation ... and will be replaced later."

Al-Abadi said all 16 new names were selected by a special committee and not by political parties.

It is still unclear if lawmakers will endorse the new cabinet since several parliamentarians from across Iraq's political spectrum have threatened to pull out of Thursday's scheduled session if their demands are not met.

Most Sunni politicians demanded a complete cabinet reshuffle, while Shia lawmakers were divided in their stance on the new government.

Kurdish politicians have insisted that 20 percent of ministers in the new Cabinet must be Kurdish.

Government spokesman, Saad al-Hadithi, said all the names proposed by al-Abadi were new people.

Lawmakers now have 10 days to discuss the names before the vote.

Agencies contributed to this report.