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Iraq PM rejects resignation of three Cabinet ministers

By AFP - Nov 20,2023 - Last updated at Nov 20,2023

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani

BAGHDAD — Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani on Monday refused to accept the resignation of three Cabinet ministers who stepped down over the dismissal of the parliament speaker.

The supreme court last week said it was dismissing speaker Mohamed Al Halbussi, an influential Sunni Muslim politician, after a lawmaker accused him of forging a document.

Halbussi's Taqadom Party hit back by announcing that the government ministers of culture, industry and planning — all three members of the party — were stepping down in protest.

But on Monday Sudani's office released a statement saying the prime minister "has rejected the resignations of the ministers of planning, industry, and culture".

"Consequently, they will resume their duties in service of our beloved people," the statement read.

It said that Sudani's government was committed to a comprehensive political representation "in line with the commitment to support political stability" across the multi-ethnic country.

Under a power-sharing system adopted in Iraq in the aftermath of the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, political positions are divided between Iraq's ethnic and confessional communities.

The president is chosen from the Kurdish community, while the prime minister is a Shiite Muslim — who represent the majority of the population — and the speaker of parliament represents the Sunni Muslim community.

Iraq's 329-member parliament is dominated by a coalition of pro-Iran Shiite parties.

Halbussi led a sizeable Sunni bloc, with his Taqadom Party's 37 members in parliament, until he faced growing unease within Iraq's Sunni political sphere in recent months

Laith Al Duleimi, who was an MP for Taqadom, had accused Halbussi of forging a resignation letter, saying the speaker had changed the date on an older document to force him out of parliament.

Halbussi had rejected the court's decision to dismiss him, calling it a "strange verdict" and said "some seek to destabilise the country".

 

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