Failed attempts to oust the speaker of parliament and a fresh ultimatum from an influential Shiite cleric have left Iraq in a state of political limbo. Backroom negotiations continued late into the night Saturday between Iraq’s powerful political blocs after lawmakers attempting to oust speaker Selim al-Jabouri failed to maintain quorum.
A simmering political crisis in Baghdad escalated this week when parliament failed to approve a new Cabinet lineup presented by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. The shakeup was just the most recent effort by al-Abadi to salvage promises of reform first made last August in the form of austerity measures that he claimed would also help combat corruption.
Following the Cabinet vote delay, parliamentarians staged a sit-in Wednesday demanding the country’s top political leadership step down, including the speaker and prime minister. The protest quickly descended into a brawl with the country’s elected leadership throwing punches and water bottles. Eventually the scuffles subsided and no one was seriously hurt.
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