Iraqi protesters call for political reforms, anti-graft fight

Dozens of the Iraqis have held another demonstration in the capital Baghdad, demanding the government fulfill its pledge to enact anti-corruption reforms.

Protesters gathered at Baghdad’s central Tahrir Square on Saturday to express their dissatisfaction with what they called hesitation in carrying out the proposed reforms aimed at combating ‘systemic political patronage that has abetted graft’ in the Arab country.

Security forces cordoned off all roads leading to Baghdad’s al-Khazra zone (Green Zone), with heavy security measure adopted in nearby streets.

On Friday, thousands of human rights activists also staged a similar protest at the same square.

Some media reports said the parliament’s Saturday session has been postponed until further notice over security threats to the lives of lawmakers and the legislature’s staff.

The Iraqi parliament has witnessed a tumultuous week amid a political rift which has thrice prevented a vote on a list of new ministers proposed by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

The Iraqi parliament gave Abadi a three-day deadline, which started on March 28, to present a new list of ministers or face a vote of no-confidence.

Abadi met the deadline, but the legislature has so far delayed voting on the cabinet reshuffle amid stiff resistance from some parties seeking to maintain their influence in the administration.

Most of those on Abadi’s list were later substituted with new names on a second list distributed among lawmakers, prompting some lawmakers to launch a sit-in at the parliament building.

The following day, a fistfight erupted in the parliament hall, forcing the premier to say he would make changes to the disputed names on the new list.

Iraqi lawmakers also voted on April 14 to unseat Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri and his deputies and appointed Adnan al-Janabi, a senior tribal leader, as the acting head of the legislature.

The latest developments on Iraq’s political scene come at a time that the Iraqi army troops and allied volunteer forces are conducting 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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