[JURIST] People began protesting in Baghdad this weekend demanding a new government amid the third parliament session cancelled this week as officials discuss political reforms. The session of parliament was cancelled because the chambers could not be secured [Aljazeera report] by forces as tempers flared again. The political turmoil has been the result of a plan by Haider al-Abadi [CNN profile] to bring technocrats into the cabinet in order to bring down corruption. On March 31, al-Abadi presented a list of people to attempt to accomplish this, but then drafted a second list after political pressure that was more in line with party’s wishes. Many MP’s then staged a sit-in protest of this move, as they believed it would allow corruption to continue.
Iraq has faced significant challenges in recent years with providing basic infrastructure and a stable government. Last week, members of parliament voted to remove [Aljazeera report] the parliamentary speaker Salim al-Juburi after accusing him of blocking reforms. The move was one of many cabinet membership questions that have led to chaos in the chambers. In August Iraq’s cabinet approved a proposal [JURIST report] by al-Abadi 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 was among those to be eliminated. Those in favor of the changes say they 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.