Iraqi gov’t set to go into reshuffle away from partisan quotas

By Alaa Al-Huwaijel BAGHDAD, The Iraqi government has stated its intention to undergo a largescale cabinet reshuffle without being bound by partisan quotas that used to hamper the efficacy of previous governments.

The planned move is an apparent response to the mass demonstrations that continued across the country over the last month.

The reshuffle will be extensive so it will affect nearly half of the number of portfolios, government spokesman Saad Al-Hadeithi told KUNA on Friday.

Al-Hadeithi refrained from specifying the portfolios concerned but he noted that they are related to services and economic affairs, which have to do with the demands of protesters for better living conditions and more jobs.

“The new government will have to press ahead with the financial and administrative reforms which the outgoing government embarked on,” he revealed.

“To avoid partisan considerations, the coming prime minister will choose his team without interferences from their respective political parties or parliamentary blocs. “Unlike, previous cabinet formations, the prime minister-designate will decide on the setup of his cabinet without prior consultations with the political parties which used to select their respective nominees for the portfolios,” Al-Hadeithi explained.

Based on professional criteria and competence, the new approach to cabinet formation will render the prime minister fully responsible for the success or failure of this team, he pointed out.

“The Prime Minister (Adel Abdul-Mahdi) was supposed to announce the cabinet reshuffle one month ago, but he waited to get a mandate from the leading political parties to do it without their interferences.

“The new cabinet lineup will be complete very soon,” Al-Hadeithi affirmed, without giving a specific date for declaring it.

Abdul-Mahdi has first stated his desire to change the government in early October at the onset of the mass protests, but the move hit the snag of wrangling by parliamentary blocs over his nominees for some ministerial portfolios. The continued pressures by nationwide protests have apparently forced the parliamentary blocs to give concessions and agree to extensive cabinet reshuffle.

Nevertheless, the move may not satisfy the protesters who demand not only a cabinet reshuffle but also resignation of the government in its entirety, changing the electoral law and holding snap elections.

Source: Kuwait News Agency