Grand Ayatollah Sistani urges more reforms in Iraq


BAGHDAD, Aug 14: Iraq’s top Shia cleric has voiced his support for a recent set of reforms by the country’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, saying, however, that more such measures are needed to eradicate corruption in the country.
“We appreciate that (the reform package), and hope that these decisions are implemented in the near future,” said Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, in remarks delivered by his representative Abdul Mahdi al-Karbalai in the holy city of Najaf on Friday.
The top cleric, however, said that Abadi’s proposals do not address the judiciary system, which “is an important pillar in completing the package of reforms, and there cannot be true reform without it.”
The remarks came a week after Ayatollah Sistani called on Abadi to adopt “serious measures” against corruption in the Arab country, saying the “minor steps” already taken by the Iraqi government were not enough.
Also on Friday, thousands of Iraqis took to the streets to express their support for Abadi’s anti-corruption bid.
Meanwhile, Iraqi President Fouad Masum said that he would personally supervise the process of the implementation of the reforms in the Arab country.
Back on Tuesday, the Iraqi parliament unanimously approved Abadi’s proposals aimed at uprooting corruption and reducing government costs.
As part of the comprehensive reform plan, the two key positions of vice president and deputy prime minister will be removed. The plan also calls for a “comprehensive and immediate reduction” in the number of bodyguards of the president, ministers, parliament speaker, members of parliament and prime minister.
Meanwhile, Iraq’s anti-corruption court says it is investigating over 90 lawsuits, some of which against former and current members of the parliament. The court, however, added that it cannot summon the MPs because of their parliamentary impunity.


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