Iraq Reform Efforts Sputter, Budget Battle Heats Up

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-‘Abadi’s reform drive effectively came to an end at the beginning of November, less than three months after his initial declaration of reforms, following a parliamentary vote qualifying support for his government.

While nominally affirming support, the vote stipulated that Mr ‘Abadi had no “mandate” to issue reform measures and that reforms had to be based on consensus, which ensures nothing radical will change. The particular reform that most tripped up the government, reforms to civil service pay, was aimed at increasing pay for the lowest earners, while cutting pay for all others, thus allowing the government to make up for the oil revenue shortfall. Yet, following protests by middle class civil servants Mr ‘Abadi backed down. In recent weeks he has gone silent on the issue. (CONTINUED - 1172 WORDS)