Iraqi parliament to vote on PM’s new cabinet proposal, some MPs protest
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi speaks on Iraqi Police Day at a police academy in Baghdad, in this file picture taken January 9, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily/Files

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s parliament will vote on Thursday on a cabinet reshuffle proposed by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi as part of an anti-corruption drive, the assembly’s speaker said, a day after scuffles erupted among lawmakers debating the reform.

Several dozens members of parliament have staged a sit-in in parliament since Tuesday in protest over a list of candidates presented by Abadi for the cabinet’s new line-up, which they say will again result in corruption and bias.

They argue that because the list was first rubberstamped by Iraq’s main political parties, it upholds the system of ethnic and sectarian quotas instituted after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, which critics say allowed certain groups to amass more wealth and influence than others.

The dissenting MPs want Abadi to stick to an initial line-up of non-partisan technocrats he presented on March 31.

Speaker Salim al-Jabouri confirmed on his official website that the voting would proceed during Thursday’s session, which begins at 0800 GMT (11 a.m. local time).

Abadi will take part in the session, Jabouri said. The plans for a government overhaul come as Iraqi forces mount a campaign to recapture the northern city of Mosul from Islamic State militants.

Jabouri did not say on his website which of the two lists Abadi will present for the vote, but local TV channels reported on Thursday that he may ask MPs to choose between them, or to consider a third alternative.

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