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Iraqi PM asks parliament to clarify stance on corruption-fighting Cabinet

By Reuters - Mar 29,2016 - Last updated at Mar 29,2016

BAGHDAD — Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi asked parliament on Tuesday to give him clear guidance on whether he should appoint party politicians or independent technocrats to a new Cabinet aimed at fighting corruption.

Abadi was responding in a speech broadcast on state television to a deadline set by parliament on Monday to come up with a new lineup by Thursday.

"The council of representatives should clarify its position. Does it want ministers from the political blocs or technocrat ministers from outside the blocs and quotas?" he said.

Powerful Shiite Muslim cleric Moqtada Al Sadr responded swiftly, threatening Abadi with a no-confidence vote if he did not present the promised Cabinet lineup by Thursday.

Sadr on Sunday launched a personal sit-in inside Baghdad's fortified Green Zone that houses embassies and government offices, escalating pressure on Abadi to deliver on his plan. Sadr's supporters are holding a sit-in just outside the district's gates.

In his speech, Abadi indirectly called on Sadr to end the protests, which he said were burdening the security forces as they fight Daesh, the ultra-hardline Sunni group that controls considerable territory in northern and western Iraq.

"Reforms should not be allowed to impact the military and security situation," he said.

Abadi said more than six weeks ago that he would replace ministers with technocrats unaffiliated with political parties.

 

But other politicians, including some within his own Shiite Dawa Party, have pushed back against such a reshuffle, fearing it could weaken the political patronage networks that have sustained their wealth and influence for more than a decade.

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