Sayirun alliance leader Muqatada al-Sadr speaking in Baghdad on March 24, 2017. Photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Iraqi parliament’s Sayirun alliance, headed by influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, has upped its criticism of Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi for what it says is his failure to live up to the promises of improved services to Iraqis that it made upon appointment.
Frequent powercuts and an unclean, infrequent water supply have been a source of perennial discontent among Iraqis nationwide. Abdul-Mahdi has signed a series of redevelopment projects with multinational companies to repair the country’s electricity grid and sanitation system that have been ailing for decades, but Sayirun members say efforts have been to little avail.
“After a year of Abdul-Mahdi being in office, now is the time to look again at the government manifesto and work on it diligently,” Abbas Ileiwi, member of the Sayirun alliance, which is the Sadr-dominated bloc in Iraqi parliament, told Rudaw on Sunday.
Abdul-Mahdi’s administration has come up short in meeting the needs of the Iraqi people “who lack the simplest of the essential services,” added Ileiwi.
“The next legislative period will witness the hosting of the Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi and a number of ministers to evaluate government work and the extent to which they have adhered to their promises,” the Sayirun MP added.
Ilewi’s comments to Rudaw followed a Friday letter of “brotherly advice” from al-Sadr.
Sadr advised the PM to meet the Iraqi people’s demands for basic services and to avoid being swayed by political blocs and those “with external affiliation.”
Sadr also urged the PM to act against corruption, claiming that – despite Abdul-Mahdi’s formation of a supreme anti-corruption council, progress on rampant state corruption had not been made.
“Continuing on this path is not acceptable both religiously and logically, and unacceptable popularly,” Sadr warned.
While the Sayirun alliance has grown impatient, the pro-Iran Fatih alliance defended the PM, saying that it would take time for him to solve the “heavy” issues inherited from previous governments.
“It is difficult to present a full evaluation for the government of Abdul-Mahdi, “ Fatih Alliance MP Mohammed Abdulkarim told Rudaw.
Abdulkarim dismissed demands that the Iraqi PM be sacked due to economic, political, and security risks as it would take Iraq “back to square one.”
Abdul-Mahdi had previously come under fire for his track record in June, when he released documentation of his achievements in office in order to fend off criticism of still rampant state corruption, high rates of unemployment, a lack of basic services, and a seven month failure to fill senior government roles.
Criticism only abated after he filled the vacant ministry of justice, defense and interior posts in his cabinet.
Abdul-Mahdi, who does not belong to a political bloc, was chosen as a “candidate of compromise” by the Fath and Sayirun alliances for the role of prime minister in October 2018.