Iraq unveils new set of reforms to meet protesters' demands
The Iraqi government has submitted a new series of reforms in an effort to respond to protests against corruption, staggering youth unemployment and poor public services, which started in the capital Baghdad last week and then spread to other cities.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi’s cabinet approved the second package of reforms, including distribution of residential plots of land to citizens, expansion of municipal borders of cities, and changing agricultural land into residential.
The planned reforms also contain freezing the law, which allows payment of several salaries to one public servant, providing jobs for young people and activation of the agricultural lending fund.
Additionally, the Iraqi cabinet endorsed a possible study to minimize the age of retirement to give more jobs to the youth.
Early on Sunday, the Iraqi issued a decree with more than a dozen planned reforms, including land distributions, military enlistment and increased welfare stipends for needy families, AFP news agency reported.
Also on Tuesday, Iraqi Shia cleric and leader of the National Wisdom Movement, Ammar al-Hakim, called on the Baghdad government to meet the “legitimate demands” of peaceful demonstrators.
“Each citizen has the constitutional right to peacefully protest and claim his rights,” Hakim said, urging both the Iraqi cabinet and the parliament to take “urgent steps” to carry out comprehensive reforms in the country.
On October 4, Iraqi Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi vowed to implement plans to generate housing, employment, and health “within a time frame.” He supported the protesters’ demands, promising that the legislature would work on combating corruption, which he said was “as dangerous as terrorism.”