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Iran Press TV

Iraq legislators vote to remove parliament speaker: Reports

Iran Press TV

Thu Apr 14, 2016 1:14PM

Iraqi lawmakers have reportedly voted to unseat Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri and his deputies amid a major dispute in the chamber over a plan to overhaul the cabinet line-up to counter corruption.

Parliamentary sources said Thursday that the vote was held amid the absence of Jabouri and his two aides.

The parliament, called the Council of Representatives of Iraq, reconvened after two previous sessions for voting on a government reshuffle ended in chaos.

During the Thursday meeting, MPs also appointed Adnan al-Janabi, a senior tribal leader, as the acting head of the parliament.

Janabi said legislators are required to choose a new presiding board for the council during the session due to be held on Saturday.

The vote came a day after a fistfight erupted in the parliament hall. A head of the brawl, dozens of legislators had also held a sit-in inside the parliament building in protest at alleged attempts by a number of political parties and blocs to maintain their influence over key government posts.

Following the Thursday vote, Jabouri said in a statement that the session runs contrary to the constitution and that the required quorum of 165 was not reached.

This is while three lawmakers, including Niyazi Oghlu, who were present at the meeting, put the number of participants at more than 170.

The parliament voted on March 28 to give Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi a three-day deadline to present his new government or face a vote of no-confidence.

The premier met the deadline and presented a list of nominees, but he has faced stiff resistance from the powerful parties seeking to maintain their influence. Most of those on Abadi's list were later substituted with new names on a second list distributed among lawmakers on Tuesday.

However, a number of lawmakers called for a vote on the prime minister's original list and staged the sit-in protest after the voting session was postponed to Thursday.

An emergency session was called on Wednesday, but in ended with clashes among lawmakers.

There have been widespread calls among the public for deep reforms in Iraq's economic policies and a robust determination in the government for tackling corruption.

Weekly protests in the capital Baghdad last month called by prominent cleric Muqtada al-Sadr led to a sit-in by him inside the city's heavily fortified Green Zone area, prompting Abadi to propose changes in the cabinet.

Sadr and his followers want a government run by technocrats and experts instead of politically-affiliated ministers who would serve the goals of their parties.

The new Iraqi cabinet would be tasked with uprooting corruption and dealing with the violence-torn country's economic woes.

In February, Abadi called for "fundamental" changes to the government which, he said, should include academic and professional figure.

Since then, several of his reform measures have been delayed or undermined by political parties, whose powers would be affected in the wake of such changes to the running system.

The latest development on Iraq's political scene comes as army troops and allied volunteer forces have been engaged in large-scale military operations against Daesh Takfiri terrorists controlling swathes of land in the northern and western parts of the country since 2014.

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