Iraq speaker calls for dismissal of 'negligent, corrupt' ministers
BAGHDAD - Iraqi parliament speaker Salim al-Juburi called Monday for the premier to sack ministers who are clearly negligent and corrupt as part of a wide-ranging reform drive.
"We asked the prime minister to dismiss a number of ministers who are clearly guilty of dereliction, negligence and corruption," Juburi said in televised remarks.
Juburi did not mention specific ministers in his public remarks.
But a parliamentary official said that said those responsible for electricity and water resources were both proposed for the chopping block in a meeting Monday between the speaker and political leaders.
A parliamentary official said that the ministers responsible for electricity and water resources were both proposed for the chopping block in a meeting on Monday.
Earlier, Juburi called on legislators to back an ambitious reform plan outlined the day before by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, but the parliament speaker has also said that more steps are needed.
A plan for additional reforms in addition to Abadi's will be discussed in parliament on Tuesday.
Amid a major heatwave that has seen temperatures top 50 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit), protesters have railed for weeks against the poor quality of services, especially power outages that leave just a few hours of government-supplied electricity per day.
Thousands of people have turned out in Baghdad and various cities in the Shiite south to vent their anger at the authorities.
Various parties and politicians have sought to align themselves with the protesters -- at least in their rhetoric -- to take advantage of the movement and mitigate the risk to themselves.
While people have protested over services and corruption before, those demonstrations failed to bring about significant change.
And even with popular pressure and Sistani's backing, the entrenched nature of corruption in Iraq and the fact that parties across the political spectrum benefit from it will make any efforts to change the system extremely difficult.