September 9, 2015 / 4:33 PM / 3 years ago

Iraq's Abadi dismisses 123 senior officials as part of reforms: statement

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Wednesday he had dismissed 123 deputy ministers and general managers as part of a reform push aimed at reducing corruption and mismanagement which has made the country nearly impossible to govern.

Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi listens to remarks to reporters by U.S. President Barack Obama after their bilateral meeting in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington April 14, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Backed by street protests demanding better services and a call for bold action by Iraq’s most senior Shi’ite cleric, Abadi has rolled out the largest shakeup of the country’s governing system since the U.S. occupation.

He has set out to transform a system based on sectarian and ethnic quotas, which often hands high office to unqualified candidates and encourages graft.

Abadi did not mention which ministries would be affected by Wednesday’s decision, but said in a statement that the senior officials would be sent into retirement or have their administrative status “adjusted”.

He said the subordinates of those dismissed would take over their responsibilities until ministries’ structures are reviewed and replacements are appointed.

In earlier reforms launched last month, Abadi eliminated Iraq’s three vice president and three deputy prime minister positions, sacked a third of his cabinet, and cut politicians’ security details and other perks.

But critics complain the changes have not yet improved ordinary people’s lives and warn some of the measures are unconstitutional.

Reporting By Stephen Kalin; Editing by Dominic Evans

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