ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Demonstrators of southern and central provinces demand the Iraqi government restructure parliament, abolish pension payments for top official positions, and install reforms to combat the country’s crippling corruption, according to a list published on Wednesday.
So far, the protests which have engulfed the country have led to the deaths of eight and injury to 56, the government claims, while 262 security forces members have been wounded in efforts to disperse demonstrators.
The representatives of the protesters are planning to raise the 14 points in which they have distilled their demands to Iraq’s top Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who will, in turn, direct it to the federal government.
After delivering the list to the relevant authorities, the demonstrators said they would give Baghdad a three-day deadline to respond once they receive it, Shafaaq News reported.
The leaders of the protests widely address, in multiple points, the issue of retirement payments made to the top positions of government and call for their abolition.
They demand an end to pension payments for President of the Republic, Prime Minister, Parliament Speaker, ministers, general directors, provincial and local councils, and former lawmakers.
The Iraqi government considers top officials who have served a term in office or parliament as retired.
Parliament must be restructured either by reducing the number of members to “a quarter [of its current size],” or “have two individuals representing each province,” the letter demands.
On an election-related point, the representatives of the demonstrators call for the dismantling of the Electoral Commission, accusing them of being guilty of tampering with all previous ballot-casting rounds. They also request the Commission be held accountable for the alleged “fraud because they are the cause of the country’s destruction.”
Another point urges “agreements with international investment companies and the cancelation of deals with companies [owned by] party officials that run the country’s projects, since most of them steal the wealth of the country at the expense of the public interest.”
In point number nine, they suggest that the parts of the constitution which “do not serve the people” be rewritten by a committee made up of all political entities of Iraq with the participation of top law experts from the country’s universities.
The scarcity of electricity supply was one of the main reasons the protests, which turned violent, began. In the 14-point letter, protesters demand Iraq enter a deal with Germany to “quickly construct three stations at a price of two billion dollars per station,” similar to Egypt.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany