Iraq: Parliament moves to change charter, end perks

BAGHDAD

As the nation is rocked by protests, Iraq’s parliament on Monday took steps towards reforms including changing the country’s Constitution and ending official perks.

Parliament voted to form a commission to draw up a list of changes and submit them to lawmakers within four months, according to an Anadolu Agency parliamentary correspondent.

Lawmakers also voted to dissolve irregular provincial councils and take away certain privileges from officials from the presidency, parliament, government, independent institutions, judicial bodies, and governors.

Parliament Speaker Mohamed al-Halbousi also said requests have been received to question Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi and four Cabinet ministers.

At least 81 people have been killed since a second wave of anti-government protests began on Friday, according to human rights groups.

The first wave of protests in early October left 149 protesters and eight security personnel dead.

Anger has been building in Iraq in recent years due to rising unemployment and rampant corruption. Many people in the country have limited access to basic services such as electricity and clean water.

According to World Bank figures, Iraq’s youth unemployment is around 25%. It is ranked the 12th most-corrupt country in the world, according to several transparency organizations.

*Writing by Mahmoud Barakat
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