Will Abadi’s Reforms work?

By Mustafa al-Kadhimi for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The Iraqi parliament voted Aug. 11 to approve Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri’s economic, political and administrative reform measures in response to the demands of the Iraqi street.

These measures include doing away with the positions of vice president of the republic and deputy prime minister, ending special allocations for the presidency, governmental bodies and institutions, reopening past and current cases of corruption and placing them under the supervision of a supreme committee to combat corruption, and tasking a number of judges to investigate the cases and prosecute corrupt persons.

The reforms also included major measures such as reducing the number of ministers, ending sectarian and party quotas for top government positions, energizing the judiciary to prosecute corrupt officials and limiting law enactments. This followed unprecedented, mounting anti-government protests that carried major weight among Iraq’s politicians.

People have been calling for the realization of their demands for some time. Protests took place on more than one occasion in various cities, including demonstrations in Dhi Qar province south of Baghdad in February 2014 that called for improved services, especially electricity. Thousands of protesters also took to the streets in Basra on Aug. 7, 2014, demanding reform and the fight against corruption.

When the government did not respond to calls for improved services, people then demanded comprehensive reform.

However, this does not necessarily mean that their demands will be implemented on the spot, especially in a country suffering from complex crises at all levels, political divides, economic collapse and an ongoing, raging war against the Islamic State (IS), which controls large swaths of Iraq’s territory.

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