Former defense minister Khalid al-Obeidi was impeached last month.
BAGHDAD, Iraq – The Iraqi parliament has overstepped its monitoring role and been dishonest with the Iraqi people, Iraq’s prime minister said about the legislature’s plans to question Finance Minister Hoshyar Zebari.
“Questioning is always on political practices, if the political practice of the minister is not satisfactory, if he does not have enough administrative and leadership skills, the questioning should be on this,” Prime Minister Haider Abadi told reporters at a news conference in Baghdad on Tuesday.
He said MPs should not summon ministers for questioning, because that can be done by “other state bodies, such as the financial watchdog or Integrity Committee.”
Last month, MPs passed a no-confidence vote against defence minister Khaled al-Obeidi, forcing him to step down. Zebari also faces a possible no-confidence motion in parliament.
“The parliament is not there to replace other institutions. That is why the questioning should be complete and proper in practice. I have to be honest: I have not seen that,” Abadi said.
“If there is corruption, there is the report by the financial watchdog. This is not the duty of the prime minister. The financial watchdog has its reports quarterly and annually and will present it to the parliament. Where is the report by the financial watchdog? It has to be responsible for all offices, including the prime minister’s,” said Abadi, who is under immense political pressure to rehaul his cabinet and root out corruption.
Abadi strongly criticized MPs for voting on impeachment of the defence minister in a secret ballot.
“The MPs are the representative of the nation. They have to be honest with the nation. They should not be saying something before the people and something else secretly,” Abadi said.
“If I am being honest with the nation then I will be voting openly. Let the people see me. Why should the vote be secret? If I believe in something, let the people watch it. We should be brave. Why do you encourage an environment that grows hypocrisy?” he added.
Iraq, its 328-seat parliament and its politicians have been buffeted by sit-ins and strikes over the past several months, ordered by powerful Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who has been leading a powerful campaign against official corruption.