Iraq’s cabinet on Sunday approved a proposal [statement] by Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi [official website] to reduce the number of top political positions, decrease spending, and restart a corruption investigation program. A vice presidential position currently held by former prime minister Nouri Al Maliki [BBC profile] is among those to be eliminated. The proposal comes after weeks of protests by citizens over power outages and violence by insurgent groups. Those in favor of the reductions say the changes are needed [Gulf News op-ed] for the government to operate more effectively, but opponents who broadly support change worry that they concentrate too much power [Al Arabiya report] in Al Abadi. The changes would alter the Iraqi Constitution [text, PDF] and the Iraqi Parliament [official website] would have to approve the measure before the changes take place.
Iraq has faced significant challenges in recent years with both providing basic infrastructure and fighting militant groups. Earlier this month, the Iraqi Parliament warned [JURIST report] that closing UN health clinics in the country would have devastating effects for residents there. Last month, a Baghdad court sentenced [JURIST report] 24 Islamic State militants to death for the killing of hundreds of Iraqi soldiers.