Iraq government backs PM proposal to end deputy PM, vice president roles
Iraq’s council of ministers on Sunday (August 9) approved a package of reform measures, including cancelling the positions of vice president and deputy prime minister. It followed a call by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to remove the positions as part of an initiative to improve state finances and reduce corruption. The measures were announced in an online statement.
Iraq has three vice presidents, two Shi’ites and a Sunni, and three deputy prime ministers, a Shi’ite, a Sunni and a Kurd. The constitution gives Abadi the right to dismiss ministers with parliament’s consent.
Iraq’s system of sharing out government posts along sectarian lines has long been criticised for promoting unqualified candidates and allowing corruption.
Abadi called for an end to sectarian and party quotas for government positions, the reopening of corruption investigations and the reassignment of officials’ security details to the ministers of defence and interior.
Shi’ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani pushed Abadi in a Friday sermon to “strike with an iron fist” against corruption and make appointments based on ability rather than party or sectarian affiliation. The measures also require parliamentary approval.