Iraq MPs Skip Cabinet Vote, Fire Speaker Instead

Jabouri's Ouster Seen as Blow to Prime Minister

After delaying the vote on a new cabinet from Tuesday to Thursday, Iraq’s parliament cancelled the vote entirely today, following up a fist-fight dominated Wednesday session with one in which they fired the speaker of parliament, Salim al-Jabouri.

Jabouri’s ouster was seen primarily as a move against Prime Minister Hayder Abadi, but also riled the nation’s Sunni Arab minority, as he was materially the last high-ranking Sunni Arab government figure left.

Jabouri and his supporters, however, are complaining that the vote was unconstitutional, and that the parliament lacked a quorum. The indications are that it was extremely close to the 170 man quorum count, with the “official” figure at 173.

Abadi’s technocrat cabinet is supported by the Sunni Arab bloc, along with Moqtada al-Sadr’s Shi’ite faction, but opposed by Abadi’s own larger Shi’ite faction and the Kurds. Jabouri had threatened to dissolve parliament and call new elections in the face of continued opposition to the cabinet.

Abadi’s position is seen as extremely tenuous, with most of his own bloc predicting his ouster for months, and his faction’s real leader, former PM Nouri al-Maliki, seeking to have him replaced.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.