Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has unveiled
sweeping reforms to reduce government costs and
fight corruption after protests across the country.
He said senior political appointments should not
be based on sectarian or party quotas and moved
to abolish the posts of vice-president and deputy
Most of Mr Abadi’s proposed reforms will require
The move follows recent anti-government protests
sparked by unreliable electricity amid a major
On Friday, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani – Iraq’s most
influential Shia cleric – also urged Mr Abadi to
“strike with an iron fist” against corruption and
make political appointments based on ability rather
than party or sectarian affiliation.
Iraq’s system of sharing government posts
between sectarian groups has long been criticised
for promoting unqualified candidates and
The country has three vice-presidents – two Shia
and one Sunni – and three deputy prime ministers
– a Shia, a Sunni and a Kurd.
One of the Shia vice-presidents is former Prime
Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who has previously said
he supported reform.
Analysis: Sebastian Usher, BBC Arab affairs editor
Reform was the promise on which Haider al-Abadi
was brought to power to replace his predecessor,
Nouri al-Maliki, whose policies alienated many
Iraqis, especially Sunni Muslims.
The hope was that a less corrupt and sectarian
government would help in the fight against Islamic
State militants. That battle remains very much in
It’s been complicated by growing public anger
over crippling power cuts in sweltering summer
heat. Protests have erupted across the country
against official corruption and incompetence.
Mr Abadi has now moved to try to meet those
demands in a bid to maintain a fragile unity
against the jihadists.
Mr Abadi’s seven-point plan also includes a
requirement for a number of government positions
to be filled with political independents – a move
aimed at cracking down on corruption.
It also calls for a reduction in the cost of personal
bodyguards for officials and an increase in the
budget of the national security forces.
The move is one of Mr Abadi’s biggest challenges
to date, says the BBC’s Ahmed Maher in Baghdad.
Though he has secured the approval of his
cabinet, Mr Abadi must take the measures to
parliament, where his opponents will make it
difficult for him to press ahead with his reforms.
Failing to get his proposals through would
undermine his credibility among Iraqis, but swift
action is unlikely, our correspondent says.