Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Two things pass, no one's sure what they mean

In Iraq today, the Parliament has approved Haider al-Abadi's 7-point plan to address waste and corruption.  AFP reports all 297 MPs in attendance voted in favor of the proposal (there are 328 MPs in the Parliament).

The reforms or 'reforms' are thought to be in response to the recent protests demanding accountability.  Whether they are a true response or just fakery attempting to stop the protests remains to be seen.  BBC notes,  "Many Iraqis have cautiously welcomed the passing of the reform package, seen as a victory for Mr Abadi. But he still faces pressure to ensure the measures are properly implemented."

While many western outlets note the 7-point plan, only a few note the Speaker of Parliament's plan which includes insisting that certain ministers (those over electricity and water) be removed.  All Iraq News reports that the Speaker's plan passed today as well before Parliament adjourned (they are scheduled to next meet on Thursday).  Alsumaria notes that vote was unanimous as well.  The Minister of Electricity is scheduled to face questions from Parliament on August 25th.

National Iraqi News Agency notes that Vice President Ayad Allawi is calling for more:

He said in a press conference today that he had submitted a memorandum to the President and Prime Minister to implement a series of reforms, including the formation of an international body to investigate the hundreds of billions of dollars that have been spent since 2003.

He added that he called for the formation of this body to check in the financial corruption and to bring the corruptors to justice and uncover the details through the media.

Allawi called for reducing the personal protection of the officials and send the redundant of protections team to fight the terrorists in the battlefield.

Bas News reports that Iraq's President Fuad Masum is said to have told his vice presidents that "the reforms violate the Iraqi constitution, and al-Abadi should have consulted the president."

Despite gushing from Brookings and others, no one really knows what -- if anything -- al-Abadi's plan will mean.

In actual practice, Haider could have just re-invented the political system in Iraq and removed checks and balances built into the system.  

Again, at this point, no one really knows what this plan actually means. 

Erika Solomon (Financial Times of London) offers:

Some analysts say Mr Abadi’s move may be aimed less at reform than taking advantage of Mr Sistani’s backing to bolster himself against political opponents such as former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki. The latter has publicly supported the reform plan but was widely criticised during his rule for entrenching sectarian governance and corruption.

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