Mr Abd al-Mahdi announced on 24 March that he won’t be attending cabinet meetings until parliament has examined his resignation, tendered in August 2015 (MEES, 26 February). He has instructed Deputy Oil Minister Fayadh al-Nema, who also belongs to the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), to carry out his ministerial responsibilities on his behalf.

The move comes amid mounting political uncertainty in Baghdad as Prime Minister Haidar al-‘Abadi is redoubling efforts to implement a technocratic cabinet reshuffle, with growing speculation that Mr Abd al-Mahdi is in the firing line. Mr ‘Abadi is coming under increasing political pressure for his inability to implement political reforms and successfully pursue his anti-corruption program. (CONTINUED - 110 WORDS)