Iraqi PM cuts cabinet posts, criticism expected

GMT 23:17 2015 Monday ,17 August

Arab Today, arab today Iraqi PM cuts cabinet posts, criticism expected

Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi
Baghdad - XINHUA

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has cut 11 ministerial posts in his cabinet as part of an anti-corruption reform plan, but a Kurdish politician said on Monday that the move could draw criticism from political blocs.

In a statement late Sunday, Abadi announced the decision to cut the number of ministers in his cabinet from 33 to 22, in a bid to curb corruption and mismanagement, which were seen as the main reasons behind the failure of rebuilding the country's economy and public services.

Mahmoud Othman, a veteran Kurdish politician, said he expects that Abadi will face objections from most of the political blocs which used to have their own portfolios according to power-sharing agreements and political consensus.

"All the political blocs want to see their ministers in their ministries, thus the coming days will witness objection by those blocs on Abadi's decision to reduce the number of ministries and merge others," Othman said.

Abadi's latest move includes cutting the posts of three deputy prime ministers, of the minister of human rights and of three ministers of state for women's affairs, provincial and parliament affairs.

His reform also merged four ministries with four others, including those in science and technology, culture and municipalities.

The cabinet shuffle came as Abadi pushs ahead with his comprehensive reform plan to combat corruption and mismanagement, under the pressure of massive demonstrations by angry Iraqis in Baghdad and several other southern cities against slack public services, power shortage and massive corruption.

The latest demonstrations were also backed by Iraq's most revered Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who has called on Abadi to be "more daring and courageous in his reforms."

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