Iraq’s parliament votes to curb PM Abadi’s unilateral power

Iraq’s parliament unanimously votes to prevent Prime Minister Haider al Abadi from passing reformations without parliament’s approval

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Iraq's PM Haider al Abadi sits during a parliamentary session to vote on Iraq's new government at the parliament headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq on Sept. 8, 2014.

Iraq's parliament voted unanimously on Monday to prevent the government from passing crucial reforms without its approval, in an effort to restrict the authority of Prime Minister, Haider al Abadi, as discontent is increasing over his style of leadership, the lawmakers said.

Vote took place following Abadi’s unilateral reforms in August, including his dismissal of the vice president and deputy prime minister, as well as cuts to salaries of government employees, which the parliament deemed as a violation of the constitution.

"Under this resolution, no more absolute authorities for the prime minister," one member of the parliament told Reuters under the condition of anonymity.

Senior officials have said that they are not consulted about Abadi's reforms and often hear about them through the media outlets.

"Parliament rejects any parties, including the government, overlooking its authorities," said another MP. "The resolution was passed unanimously and it dictates that any decision needs the approval of parliament."

An increase in political tensions could hinder Baghdad's efforts to tackle its economic crisis and form a united front against DAESH, which are posing a serious threat to the security of the nation.

Last week, more than 60 members of Iraq’s governing State of Law coalition presented a letter to Prime Minister, Haider al Abadi, demanding more consultation ahead of reforms.

In the letter, parliamentarians threatened to withdraw their support for Abadi’s coalition if he fails to meet their demands.

In August, Abadi announced new measures to crack down on corruption and improve state finances by axing certain government posts, including the positions of vice president and deputy prime minister, after weeks of demonstrations in the Iraqi capital Baghdad and the southern cities over poor electricity and water supplies.

However, even though the parliament has for now "put the brakes" on Abadi's authority, a crisis could emerge, said Wathiq al Hashimi, chairman of the Iraqi Group for Strategic Studies think-tank.

"The question will be, is he is going to survive? I think parliament's move today is a test. The next likely scenario could be withdrawing confidence from Abadi," Hashimi said.

He added that increasing parliamentary objections to Abadi's diplomacy and severe shortage of cash will eventually lead Abadi "to a direct confrontation with his own party."

TRTWorld and agencies