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Abadi to present new cabinet lineup by Thursday deadline

Abadi said he would present his new cabinet lineup to the parliament on Thursday [Bloomberg]

Date of publication: 30 March, 2016

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Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said he would announce his new cabinet lineup on Thursday, in keeping with a deadline set by the legislature earlier this week.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said he would present his new cabinet lineup to the parliament on Thursday, meeting a deadline set by the legislature earlier in the week.

"Parliament must make up its mind and proceed with reforms including the cabinet reshuffle which it and citizens have been calling for," he said in a statement posted on his website on Wednesday.

It was unclear whether the parliament would approve the new cabinet lineup.

On Tuesday, Abadi appealed to lawmakers for guidance on whether to appoint party politicians or independent technocrats to the cabinet, but parliament speaker Salim al-Jabouri said on Wednesday it was for Abadi to decide.

Influential Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr, who started a sit-in near parliament on Sunday and leads a bloc with three ministers in the current government, is pushing Abadi to appoint nominees unaffiliated with political parties.

A separate sit-in staged by his supporters has locked down central Baghdad for most of the past week.

On Sunday, Sadr entered Baghdad's Green Zone to continue the sit-in as his 24-hour deadline to the government came to an end.

"Today we are at the entrance of the Green Zone and tomorrow we will be within it," the cleric warned, as he entered the gates.

More than six weeks ago, Abadi announced his intention to replace current ministers with independent technocrats, but his announcement was faced with resistance from rivals who fear it could weaken the political patronage networks that have sustained their wealth and influence for more than a decade.

Failing to deliver on long-promised anti-corruption measures could weaken Abadi's government just as Iraqi forces are gearing up to try and recapture the northern city of Mosul from Islamic State militants.

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