Iraqi PM given deadline to reshuffle cabinet

Baghdad—Iraq’s parliament on Monday gave embattled Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi until Thursday to present a cabinet of technocrats as Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr expanded his protest movement for reform.
Sadr himself spent the night camping in the Green Zone while thousands of his supporters continued a 10-day-old sit-in outside the gates of the fortified area in central Baghdad.
“Parliament is the legitimate representative of the people and it declared that Thursday is the final deadline for the government to present a new ministerial line-up,” a statement from the speaker’s office said on Monday.
Sources in parliament told AFP that 170 lawmakers out of 245 present voted in favor of the deadline. “If Abadi fails to present his new cabinet, he must be present in parliament on Saturday to explain why,” said Haidar al-Mutlaq, an MP from the State of Law bloc.
Abadi has promised to reshuffle the government by replacing party-affiliated ministers with technocrats, a move meant to help tackle corruption and Iraq’s massive budget crunch.—AFP

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