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Iraqi premier calls for emergency parliament meeting

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has called on Iraq's parliament to convene an emergency meeting to seek a way out of the current political standstill that has almost crippled the country.

In a Monday statement, Abadi stressed the significance of the parliament’s approval of the new cabinet line-up proposed by Abadi, Iraq’s al-Sumaria television network reported.

The parliament had on March 28 given Abadi a three-day deadline to present a new government or face a vote of no-confidence in the face of alleged government corruption. The premier met the deadline and presented a list of nominees. However, on March 31, the Iraqi parliament rejected the initial list presented by Abadi, which reportedly included independent professionals.

The Iraqi premier then replaced most of his nominees with those proposed by political blocs. That sparked protests and clashes in the parliament, with voting on the government reshuffle being postponed three times.

In his Monday statement, Abadi said that the fight against the Daesh terrorists group, which controls parts of Iraq’s west and north, and the settlement of the country’s security and financial problems require the unity and solidarity of all the people.

On April 14, some lawmakers held a vote to remove Speaker Salim al-Jabouri, overshadowing the cabinet issue. Jabouri called the move invalid, saying the session at which MPs voted to sack him lacked a quorum.

Iraqis chant slogans calling for reforms during a demonstration at Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, April 17, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Abadi also said in his statement that the Iraqi government is in talks with global financial institutions in a bid to resolve the country’s economic problems and bring prosperity.

Iraq has seen a major shrink in its finances as a result of the slump in global oil prices while the country is in the midst of a large-scale battle against Daesh. That has apparently affected the daily life of Iraqis, making corruption a major issue in light of the current political wrangling. Iraq ranks 161st among the 168 countries on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index.

The Iraqi premier had earlier warned that the political crisis engulfing the country could hamper the war against the terrorists operating in the country.

On Sunday, several hundred people took part in a sit-in in the capital, Baghdad, demanding accelerated efforts for setting-up a reform-minded government and a halt to the current system of patronage in Iraq’s politics.

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