Iraq

Outgoing Iraqi PM demands approval of successor Allawi’s cabinet by March 2

Outgoing Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi has called upon political leaders to quickly approve the cabinet of premier-designate Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi, and warned he would walk away from his caretaker post if they refuse to take the measure by early next month.

“It would not be correct or appropriate for me to remain in power after March 2, and I will have no recourse but to implement the text of the constitution and the cabinet’s internal bylaws,” Abdul-Mahdi said on Wednesday.

The remarks came only a few days after Allawi announced he would submit his cabinet to a parliamentary vote within days, promising it would be stacked with “independents.”

“We’re nearing a historic achievement: completing an independent cabinet of competent and impartial people, without the intervention of any political party,” Iraq’s premier-designate wrote in a post published on his Twitter page on Saturday.

He also pledged to “submit the names of these ministers within the current week.”

“We hope members of the parliament will respond and vote on them in order to start implementing the people’s demands,” Allawi said.

Allawi was nominated on February 1 as a consensus candidate among Iraq’s political parties. He has until March 2 to submit his cabinet to a parliamentary vote.

This is while the legislature is due to be in recess until mid-March, and parliamentary speaker, Mohammed Halbusi, has not scheduled an extraordinary session.

The appointment of Allawi followed an ultimatum by President Barham Salih, who said he would pick a new premier himself if political parties did not agree on a candidate.

For four months, Iraq has been rocked by anti-government protests in the capital Baghdad and across much of the southern part of the country.

Demonstrators have called for more job opportunities, better public services, and an end to corruption among their demands.

Reports say more than 550 people have been killed and about 25,000 injured in the course of the violent protests.

The protests forced the resignation of Abdul-Mahdi on December 1, although he had remained in post in a caretaker capacity.

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