By Ali Jawwad
Iraq’s Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi will present the names of nine technocrat nominations for ministerial posts to parliament on Saturday, an Iraqi lawmaker told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday.
“Al-Abadi will present nine technocrats to parliament on Saturday for approval,” Abboud al-Essawi, a member of al-Abadi’s “State of Law” coalition, said. “The list is the first phase of a cabinet reshuffle.”
The move comes as supporters of Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr continued their protests outside the fortified Green Zone in Baghdad to pile up pressure on al-Abadi.
Al-Sadr had called on the premier to reshuffle his cabinet and form a new government made of technocrats, who are untainted by corruption or sectarianism -- both of which, critics say, have hamstrung Iraq’s previous post-invasion governments.
Al-Essawi said al-Abadi will reshuffle his cabinet in two phases given the fact that the Iraqi constitution requires the prime minister to resign in case of a complete cabinet reshuffle.
He said that al-Abadi may pick his ministers from a list of technocrats nominated by Sadr.
Sadr’s Ahrar bloc in parliament holds 34 seats in the 328-seat assembly and three ministerial portfolios in Iraq’s current government.
“Al-Abadi will present the names to parliament and the final word will be for the political blocs,” he added.
According to local media, four Shias, three Sunnis and two Kurds will be among the first technocrat nominations for the government.