By Patrick Martin and ISW Iraq Team
The session of the Council of Representatives (CoR) to select a new cabinet for the government dissolved into chaos when political blocs could not reach an agreement over the cabinet’s final composition. The CoR members burst into an uproar when CoR Speaker Juburi announced the decision that followed a closed-door meeting of Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi, CoR Speaker Juburi, and the heads of several political blocs during a recess of the CoR session. Reportedly over 100 members of the CoR began a sit-in in the CoR to protest the decision by CoR Speaker Salim al-Juburi to postpone the vote on the cabinet reshuffle until Thursday, April 14. The protesters’ demands include the removal of PM Abadi, President Fuad Masoum, and CoR Speaker Juburi, as well as the end to political quotas determining the composition of the cabinet. Several members also demanded that the CoR vote on PM Abadi’s original list of technocratic candidates presented on March 31, and not the April 12 list of candidates that constituted a compromise between technocrats and political appointees. An unconfirmed source stated that there are at least 114 signatures for their removal. The participants appear to be cross-sectarian; members of the Sunni Etihad bloc, the Shi’a State of Law Alliance, and the Sadrist Trend are participating, Members that have a strong dislike for one another are also participating; senior Sadrist Trend member Hakim al-Zamili, for example, is participating alongside Hassan Salam, a CoR member linked to the Iranian proxy militia Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq.
[Above: CoR members stage a sit-in in the CoR to protest the postponement of the vote to select the new cabinet until April 14.]