Nujaifi files court case to keep Iraq vice presidency

Published — Wednesday 18 November 2015

BAGHDAD: Iraqi politician Osama Al-Nujaifi filed a court case seeking to remain vice president, a position the prime minister sought to abolish during a reform drive, a judicial statement said Tuesday.
It is the latest in a series of challenges to Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi’s reform efforts, which have run into problems due to the endemic nature of corruption in Iraq and the fact that officials are limiting their own privileges by implementing some changes.
The VP positions, which came with large salaries and security details but few responsibilities, were most recently held by Nujaifi, a former parliament speaker, and ex-premiers Nuri Al-Maliki and Iyad Allawi.
Abadi sought to do away with the job as part of a reform program aimed at curbing corruption and streamlining the government. Nujaifi is seeking “to repeal the cabinet decision to cancel the position of vice president of the republic, and reverse (parliament’s) decision to approve it,” the Higher Judicial Council said.
The Supreme Court adjourned the case until November 24, the statement said. Nujaifi had earlier issued a statement saying he welcomed Abadi’s reform efforts.
His case may be helped by the fact that the constitution mandates the existence of at least one vice president to fill in for the president if he is absent or his post becomes vacant.
It is a provision that would require an amendment to change.
Abadi announced reforms including scrapping the deputy premier and vice president posts, streamlining the Cabinet, cutting salaries for officials and slashing their huge number of guards.