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Iraqi parliament votes to limit prime minister's power

Members of Iraq's parliament have voted to prevent Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi from acting unilaterally. The move comes after dissatisfaction over recent reforms enacted by the leader.

Lawmakers in Iraq voted on Monday to prevent al-Abadi's government from passing reforms without the parliament's approval, sending a clear signal to the prime minister that his leadership style is not appreciated.

The vote was a response to al-Abadi's decision to dismiss three vice presidents and deputy prime ministers and to cut government salaries in August. The move has led to charges from some political parties in Iraq that al-Abadi had violated the country's constitution.

Following the passage of this most recent law, the prime minister will have to seek approval from parliament before enacting similar reforms.

A fragile government

Iraqi lawmakers have been determined to keep the government together as charges of corruption and the rising threat from the so-called 'Islamic State' (IS) militant group threatens its stability.

Al-Abadi's August reforms were a response to a

series of mass protests

in Baghdad and other cities decrying Iraq's dismal public services and deeply entrenched corruption. Previously, influential clerics like Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, a Shiite, called on al-Abadi to make reforms to the system.

Al-Abadi has faced criticism for his tendency to push reforms through the government without consulting high-ranking officials. Since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, divisions between the country's various Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish factions have led to heightened tension and even the rise of IS more than a year ago.

blc/jm(AP, Reuters)

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