Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has announced new measures to crackdown on corruption and improve state finances by axing certain government posts, including the position of vice presidents and deputy prime ministers.
Abadi’s online statement published on Sunday morning comes after weeks of demonstrations in the Iraqi capital Baghdad and southern cities against corruption.
On Friday, Iraq’s top Shiite Muslim cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani urged Abadi to do more to rid the government of sectarianism and appoint officials based on their credentials in order to fight corruption.
In his statement, Abadi urged an end sectarian and party quotas for government positions, which often allow unqualified individuals to make their way into the government.
Presently, Iraq has three vice presidents, two of whom are Shiites and one Sunni. The country likewise has three deputy prime ministers - a Shiite, a Sunni and a Kurd.
The plans would see the positions of Vice Presidents Nouri al-Maliki, Osama al-Nujaifi and Iyad Allawi abolished, as well as the dismissal of Deputy Prime Ministers Baha Araji, Saleh al-Mutlaq and Roj Nuri Shaways.
According to the Iraqi constitution, the Iraqi prime minister has the power to dismiss ministers with the consent of the parliament.
Abadi also called for the relaunching of corruption probes and the reduction of officials' bodyguards, with surplus funds being redirected to the interior and defence ministers.
The new measures would be put in effect “immediately,” the statement said. The plans were later approved by the Council of Ministers, and now awaits parliament approval in order to come into effect.