Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 9 April 2020

Iraqi PM designate concerned about rumoured plan to thwart his government proposals

Mohammed Allawi said his cabinet proposals will be 'independent and impartial'

Iraqi prime minister-designate Mohammed Allawi giving a televised speech in Baghdad on February 19, 2020. AFP
Iraqi prime minister-designate Mohammed Allawi giving a televised speech in Baghdad on February 19, 2020. AFP

Concerns have been raised by Iraq’s prime minister-designate Mohammed Allawi regarding rumoured attempts to “thwart” his proposed Cabinet.

In a tweet on Tuesday morning, Mr Allawi said there was a rumoured scheme to upend his proposed government, mentioning an unconfirmed bribery attempt among voting officials to ensure that his ministerial choices will not pass on Thursday, when parliament meets for a confidence vote.

Mr Allawi added that his cabinet proposals will be “independent and impartial” ministers, who will not allow for rampant pilfering and corruption in the government.

Since October, Iraq has been gripped by deadly protests as mostly-young activists rally against corruption in the government and poor living standards. But protesters remain sceptical of Mr Allawi and his government, believing he is too close to the old establishment to bring forward the kind of change protesters are demanding.

The announcement of Mr Allawi’s cabinet has been highly anticipated, as members of Iraqi parliament wrangle and debate ahead of the eagerly awaited release of his cabinet nominations. The announcement is expected to be made prior to Thursday’s confidence vote.

The confirmation of Mr Allawi as Iraq’s prime minister is not yet final. He will only formally be approved for the role if all 22 of his ministers are approved by the parliament, made up of Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish voting blocs.

But deep-seated mistrust and political divisions have prolonged the process.

Kurdish leaders voiced their concerns during a meeting on Monday evening over Mr Allawi's proposed government.

In a statement they urged the prime minister designate to "revise" his proposed cabinet so "it can meet the demands of all groups in Iraq."

Kurdish and Sunni parties have said they fear the next cabinet will not represent them.

Last week a Kurdish delegation headed to Baghdad and met with Mr Allawi and political leaders in Baghdad to discuss the issue. A second round of talks is expected to be held before the final vote on Thursday.

A Kurdish official told The National that although fears have been expressed by leaders in the north "things are heading in the right direction."

Quorum will be achieved on Thursday and "there will be some flexibility by Mr Allawi with Kurdistan Regional Government's Prime Minister Masrour Barzani and Iraqi Parliamentary speaker Mohammed Halbousi," he said.

Mr Allawi needs 166 of the 329 MPs to vote in favour of his cabinet and plan to secure his position in government.

Updated: February 25, 2020 11:05 AM

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