Baghdad, August 9: Bowing to countrywide protests against corruption and poor services, the Iraqi government on Sunday promised wide-ranging measures, including administrative reforms, to address the issues, media reported. Prime Minister Haider al-Abbadi issued a decree abolishing the posts of vice president and deputy prime minister in the government, in response to one of the demands voiced in anti-government demonstrations countrywide during the past two weeks over poor living conditions, including electricity cuts and water quality.
A post on Sunday on al-Abbadi’s Facebook page said he will also investigate corruption, re-appoint all senior officials based on professiol rather than sectarian criterion, and reduce the number of security personnel protecting senior officials, Al Jazeera reported.
Abbadi held a meeting on Friday to discuss the administrative and fincial reforms in his new bid to tackle corruption in the country. The decision to abolish the posts of vice president and deputy prime minister was approved by Abbadi’s cabinet, but still required parliamentary approval. Consequently, Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister Bahaa al-Araji resigned shortly after Abbadi’s announcement.
Anti-government demonstrations persisted in several cities including capital Baghdad, Basra, sriyah and jaf in the past two weeks over poor living conditions, including electricity cuts and water quality. Mustafa Saadoun, one of the organisers of the recent protests in Baghdad and director of the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights, said a rally in support of the government’s decision is expected later in the day. “If these decisions do go through, they are certainly a new beginning for us, and a big step towards tackling and getting rid of corruption within the government,” Saadoun said. “For the past two weeks, we have been protesting for change in the capital, and today we support the answer....” (IANS)