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Demonstrators chant in support of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Baghdad, Iraq, Aug. 9, 2015 (AP photo by Khalid Mohammed).

Curbing His Reform Powers, Iraq’s Parliament Cuts Abadi Down to Size

Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015

On Monday, following through on a threat issued last week, Iraq’s parliament voted unanimously to block Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi from passing anti-corruption measures and other pledged reforms without its approval. The move is just the latest sign of Abadi’s tug-of-war with Iraqi lawmakers. In August, in response to growing protests over graft and dysfunctional utility services, Abadi announced a series of reforms to deal with corruption and mismanagement. Most prominent among them were plans to eliminate several senior political offices that had become patronage vehicles, including Iraq’s three vice presidents and two deputy prime ministers, and to cut back government salaries.

Despite those measures having received parliamentary approval without opposition in August, several politicians have since criticized them as unconstitutional. Meanwhile, the three vice presidents remain in office; one of them is powerful former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. ...

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