Iraqi parliament evacuated in fear of outrageous protestors

Two photos of the Iraqi House of Representatives. Media of House of Representatives

By Ammar Aziz

All members of the Iraqi parliament have been warned to evacuate the building due to the expansion of protests near the Green Zone in Baghdad.

The Iraqi security forces warned members of the House of Representatives to evacuate the building Tuesday afternoon following widespread demonstrations by contract employees demanding permanent state employment under the food security bill.

Sharif Sulaiman, a member of the Iraqi parliament from the Kurdistan Democratic Party KDP faction, told KirkukNow that he was in the parliament building until 1:30 pm Baghdad time (CET+2).

We were warned to evacuate the building for our safety, so we did

Meanwhile, Jamal Kochar, a member of the Iraqi parliament from the Kurdistan Islamic Union KIU faction, said the instruction was to vacate the parliament building today, because of the demonstration of contract employees of the Ministry of Electricity.

The demonstration coincides with the Iraqi parliament's debate on the food security bill, which is scheduled to be voted on Wednesday June 8th.

Kochar explained, the bill allocates 25 trillion Iraqi dinars IQD (USD17 billion) for a number of service sectors including electricity, food security, agriculture, provincial development and social welfare.

The controversial bill was criticized for chances of financial misconduct in a country rampant with long history of corruption.

According to the binding laws, the Iraqi government cannot spend any money without legal permission. The Iraqi parliament has yet to pass the law on the country’s budget for 2022 due to political conflicts. 

The bill was proposed by the Iraqi caretaker government to urgently deal with skyrocketing food prices, as the country struggles to pass a budget law due to the political deadlock.

"The demonstrators appeal for permanent employment within the framework of the bill, but there is no reference to such an issue," Kochar added.

The demonstrators appeal for permanent employment within the framework of the bill

"The bill is vital because it will open the door for parliament and the government to submit a budget bill later, but the current government will have a good amount of money to spend on services," Kochar thinks.

"I don't think it will affect the vote on the bill tomorrow because there is no more time for delay," Kochar.

The heavily-fortified Green Zone, in Al-Karkh district of Baghdad, is home to government and parliament buildings, foreign offices, and embassies.

The Iraqi parliament has failed to convene for electing a new president and forming its own government, prolonging a political standoff following October 10th 2021 General Elections. 

The delay prolongs a bitter deadlock in Iraqi politics months after an a general election from which Shiite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr emerged as the biggest winner, while pro-Iran rivals setback at the polls.

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