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  1. #1
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    Exclamation Thousands cheer for Iraqi PM al-Abadi's reforms

    Thousands cheer for Iraqi PM al-Abadi's reforms

    Al-Abadi presented a reform package that could deprive lawmakers and officials of most of their privileges

    Iraqis take part in a demonstration in support of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's reform plan at the TahrirSquare in Baghdad on

    August 9, 2015 (AFP)

    Suadad al-Salhy

    Sunday 9 August 2015 23:36 UTC

    Last update:

    Monday 10 August 2015 15:51 UTC

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    Iraq; Prime Minister al-Abadi; Shia; corruption

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    BAGHDAD - Thousands of Iraqis took to the streets across the country on Sunday evening to show their support for Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi for launching a campaign aimed at reforming his government and combating corruption.

    In response to the massive demonstrations that took place in Baghdad and in the southern Shia-dominated provinces, al-Abadi presented a reform package that could deprive lawmakers and officials of most of their privileges.

    Al-Abadi's proposal includes aiming to limit financial and administrative corruption, relieving the burden on the Iraqi treasury and providing some money to pay the delayed salaries of governmental employees.

    Twelve years after the US army toppled Saddam Hussein, and despite the ascension of Shia Muslims into power through the ballot box, Iraqis continue to suffer from a lack of basic services, including electricity and clean drinking water.

    The power-sharing political system and decentralisation - adopted by Iraqís political parties after 2003 - have provided political cover for government officials in federal and local positions and have shielded corrupt officials from accountability.

    "We need to combat the corruption and save every single Iraqi dinar and get it back to the treasury of state because, the finance situation of the state is very critical," Massoud Haider, a member of the finance parliamentary committee, told the Middle East Eye.

    "Cancel some ministries and positions and integrate others will save huge money to the (state) treasury," said Haider.

    Al-Abadi, a moderate Shia, revealed his reformist plan on late Saturday, a day after Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistatni, the most revived Shia cleric in Iraq and the head of Najaf Marjiya (clergy) announced his full and open support for Abadi's campaign against corruption.

    In Baghdad, protesters flocked to Tahrir Square carrying Iraqi flags and posters of Sistani and Abadi. Several banners read "the sun shone on the darkness of the corrupted people," and "people want a government of institutions not a government of guns".

    The protestors were chanting "today, we will sweep all the corrupted (people)".

    "I am here to support Abadi to go ahead in his campaign to make reforms and carry out our demands," Mohammed Mahmood, a 26-year-old protestor who was videoing his friends while they were chanting and waving Iraqi flags in Tahrir Square.

    "I will defend him (Abadi) and support his government as long as he put his hand at the hands of people and save us from this sabotage," Mahmood added.

    Iraqi has spent around $800bn since 2004 to rehabilitate the countryís infrastructure but significant improvements have yet to be seen on the ground due to large-scale corruption. The sharp decrease of the global oil prices has intensified the finance shortage the budget suffers from since early this year.

    Wide-ranging reforms

    Al-Abadi's suggested reforms include cancelling several ministries and independent commissions while merging others, freezing the finance privileges of all officials, retraining policemen so they can fight theIslamic State group, limiting the number of the advisors of each governmental branch (parliament, cabinet and president), reactivating foreign investment and fixing the energy sector.

    One of al-Abadiís key reforms is cancelling the positions of vice president and three deputies to the primeminister. Based on the power-sharing political system that Iraqis adopted since 2004, the president (a Kurd) has three vice-presidents, a Sunni Muslim and two Shias, while the Prime Minister (a Shia) has three deputies, a Kurd, a Sunni and a Shia.

    The presidentís power is largely ceremonial, but the presidentís deputies have real sway. A copy of the 2015 Iraqi budget shows that the personal annual salaries of the three vice-presidents and their 7,000 body guards costs the Iraqi treasury more than $60mn.

    "I came to support Abadi's decision (reformations) which is to fire the three vice presidents and the corrupted officials and reform the political process," Amar Jassim, a 28-year-old protestor told MEE in Tahrir Square.

    "We all took to the street without recognising who is Sunni and who is Shia to protect our future and our children's future," Jassim said.

    Two of the current three vice-presidents, Nuri al-Maliki (the former prime minister) and Osama al-Nujaifi (the former speaker) have been blamed by many Iraqis for failing to secure Mosul from Sunni militants last summer, while Iyad Alawi (the first Iraqi prime minister after 2003) is blamed for his "suspected" relationship with Saudi Arabia.

    The cabinet has approved the prime ministerís proposed plan this afternoon but it needs to be approved by parliament for it to be binding. Most of Iraq's top politicians are afraid to express their real positions out of fear of angering the demonstrators.

    Political analysts have said that Abadi's plan will not face serious problems in parliament.

    "All the political blocs believe now that the political process is passing through its worst stage and it could collapse any day because of the corruption, Daesh (IS) and the foreign intervention, and Abadi's step towards the reformation could save the situation," Yazen al-Jobouri, an independent political analyst told MEE.

    "Abadi is the only one now who is able to make the change; he has the support of the people, Marjiya and the international community and all the political blocs understand this very well," said Jobouri.

  2. #2
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    The text of the reforms approved by the Council of Ministers

    By Roudao 22 hours ago
    1732 Show[/ltr]

    Haider al-Abadi[/ltr]
    Roudao - Erbil

    Iraqi Cabinet voted unanimously, during the special meeting held on Sunday, the first package of reforms presented by the Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

    The prime ministerpublished a statement included all the points that have been voted on and which reads as follows:

    After putting trust in God, and in response to calls sincere good for reference painted clear lines to activate the political and administrative reform, and respect for the will of our dear people in the completion of its claims legitimate, and with an emphasis on assigning armed and security forces and the popular crowd, and support the ministries and other parties to the war effort to achieve victory the expeditious to Daash gangs .

    Based on the requirements of the public interest, and based on Article 78 of the Constitution and our face following the adoption of the reforms package:

    First, the focus of administrative reform

    1. comprehensive and immediate reduction in the number of protections for all state officials, including the three presidencies, ministers, MPs and special grades and general managers and governors and members of the provincial councils and their grades, and are converted surplus to defense and interior ministries by subordination to train them and prepare them for the national duties in defense of the homeland and the protection of citizens, and to continue Select other privileges for officials including the (Auto and housing) according to fair legal standards.

    2. Cancel the posts of Vice President and the Prime Ministerimmediately.

    3. removal of all senior positions of independent bodies, agents and Ministries and advisers and directors of two years of political and sectarian quotas, and holds the professional committee appointed by the Prime Ministerand the selection of candidates in the light of the competence and integrity to take advantage of national and international experience in this area standards, and exempt from do not have the required conditions.

    4. feminine ministries and agencies to increase efficiency in government work and reduce costs.

    5. subdue other ministries and departments not associated with the Ministry to accountability through calendar programs designed for this purpose and holds the committee to evaluate the performance submit periodic reports to the Prime Minister.

    6. Cancel sites advisers in the ministries Outsourcing advisors and determine the three presidencies five advisers for each president.

    7. cancellation of the differences in salaries through reform of salaries and allowances system, and provide a new system during the month.

    8. Cancel the special provisions for each presidencies bodies and state institutions and retirees, including instructions issued by the Prime Ministerto take into account the justice and professional competence.

    9. Authorize the Prime Ministerthe power to dismiss governors or heads of local councils and their members in the event of a malfunction in the performance or violation of applicable laws or corruption cases.

    Second, the focus of financial reform

    1. repair expenses and revenue structure of the state through:

    a. Tackle tax evasion both in terms of income tax and broadening the tax base that the system is covered under the facilitator deal positively with him, and the development of the system on the grounds minute to prevent corruption and reduce the burden on self-employed.

    B. The application of customs tariff fair at all border crossing points, including the Kurdistan region and ports; and the use of international companies discreet in this area to prevent corruption and promote national product; and preventing the dumping of the Iraqi market.

    2. reduce the upper limit for pensions for officials and the drafting of a progress during the week dealing with the wrong decisions taken previously.

  3. #3
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    Third, the focus of economic reform

    1. holds crisis cell to take appropriate decisions to activate the movement of investment and stimulate the private sector through;

    a. Activate loans to stimulate the economy in the country, and operation of the unemployed, both endorsed by the cell in respect of loans scheduled for the industrial sector and the agricultural sector and the housing sector amounting to 5 trillion dinars, and in respect of loans to support small projects amounting trillion dinars. And the committee in charge of the development of mechanisms to submit its recommendations before the end of this week.

    B. To work on activating the cabinet's decision and the crisis cell to pay dues payable to the private sector companies, and the announcement of this; in an equitable manner to facilitate their work and create new jobs.

    C. The completion of payment term program prepared by the Ministry in charge of Planning in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance during the week, and submit it to the cell crisis for approval, in order to provide services to citizens.

    2. Cancel all the exceptions of the Implementing Regulations of government contracts excluding armament contracts in the Department of Defense is currently, and to authorize the President of the Council of Ministers to grant emergency exceptions.

    3. Activation strategies discreet work prepared by State institutions, including in particular what has been achieved in cooperation with international organizations.

    Fourth, the focus of services

    1. exit package measures to resolve the problems in the areas of electricity; production, transmission and distribution, and collection and to be completed within two weeks.

    2. the adoption of effective community-based control program to detect decline or failure in the delivery of services in order to negligent accounting, requires the collection of activating the work of providing services efficiently, whether at the level of ministries, or local governments.

    Fifth: the focus of the fight against corruption

    1. activating the role of Anti-Corruption Council, and takes his presidency, Mr. Prime Minister, and the launch of a campaign (Where did you get this) along with the other functions of the Council, and in cooperation with the judiciary.

    2. Activate the role of the regulatory institutions and the disclosure of spoilers and establish criteria for evaluating the performance of regulatory institutions and requires; activating the role of the national integrity, and reconsider the offices of inspectors general and focus on the core functions of their office as required by the feminine these offices, and stop the sag in which, in order to be effective.

    3. Open the previous and current files of corruption under the supervision of a supreme committee to combat corruption, made up of specialists and working principle (Where did you get this), and invite the judiciary to adopt a number of specialists known judges of integrity fully to investigate all well and prosecute corrupt, and set a time limit to resolve the issues of censorship and expose corruption and announced in accordance with the law.

    That these decisions and directions that we are launching today, is the first package on the path of reform that we seek, and the fight against corruption. With the passage of this package, we will take the necessary measures to implement them

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