Pakistan News

Ruckus forces Iraqi MPs to leave main chamber to vote on cabinet reshuffle

Ruckus forces Iraqi MPs to leave main chamber to vote on cabinet reshuffle

BAGHDAD: A dozen lawmakers disrupted the Iraqi parliament’s session on Tuesday, clapping, slamming their hands on desks and chanting slogans, forcing nearly two hundred other deputies to leave the main chamber to vote on a cabinet reshuffle.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi wants to replace some ministers — chosen to balance Iraq’s divisions along party, ethnic and sectarian lines — with technocrats. He has warned that any delay to vote could hamper the war against the militant Islamic State group, which controls vast swathes of north and west Iraq.

Dissenting MPs have managed to block parliamentary sessions for two weeks by holding a sit-in in and around the building. They argued that Tuesday’s session was unconstitutional and may still challenge the reshuffle first mooted by Abadi in February.

On Tuesday, about 180 of 328 deputies moved to a separate hall after about an hour of chaos during which dissenting MPs chanted “invalid” and “treachery” and threw water bottles at Abadi. He was escorted out by security guards.

When they eventually voted, the lawmakers replaced six ministers with candidates first proposed by Abadi in March, before adjourning to vote on more cabinet changes on Thursday, according to state television. It cited its correspondent as saying that voting on the foreign minister was postponed after objections from the Kurdish alliance.

Published in Dawn, April 27th, 2016

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