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Allawi’s Bloc Slams Iraq Speaker over Warning on Frequent Absences from Parliament Meetings

Allawi’s Bloc Slams Iraq Speaker over Warning on Frequent Absences from Parliament Meetings

Tuesday, 12 February, 2019 - 08:30
Former Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi. (Reuters)
Baghdad - Hamza Mustafa
Ayad Allawi’s Iraqi National Alliance Coalition slammed on Monday parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi after he issued a warning to the former vice president over his frequent absences from legislative meetings.

Head of the coalition’s parliamentary bloc, Kadhem al-Shammari expressed his shock at the warning, which he said the speaker did not issue to other politicians, such as former PM Nouri al-Maliki and Haidar al-Abadi, who also are often absent.

Moreover, he remarked that Halbousi’s warning was not officially presented to the coalition, its MPs or Allawi’s office, but it was simply circulated on social media.

“Such behavior is reminiscent of practices adopted by Saddam Hussein against the people whereby he used to deliver his orders and dictates through the media,” he remarked.

“Some malicious parties have exploited this alleged warning in order to attack Allawi, neglecting that he, along with other leaders, had stood against Saddam’s regime at a time when others were being protected by it, Shammari stressed.

“Halbousi appears to have forgotten how Allawi had supported him in his run for governor of the Anbar province,” he stated.

Some sides have even gone so far as to call for cutting Allawi’s salary, he revealed.

“He does not ask for money and will continue his struggle for the Iraqi people,” he stressed.

“The reason he has failed to attend parliament meetings is because its speaker has violated its laws and regulations and adopted double standards,” he explained.

Halbousi had delivered his warning after Allawi exceeded the number of absences allowed at parliament.

He explained in his memo that a lawmaker is allowed to miss five consecutive meetings and ten non-consecutive meetings. Exceeding either of these numbers will result in a written warning from the speaker.

He stressed that parliament has the right to sack any MP should his unjustified absences exceed the acceptable limit.

MP Abdullah al-Khraybit, of Halbousi’s National Axis Coalition, told Asharq Al-Awsat the speaker has “the right to practices his duties without any dictates.”

He added that he is following the internal regulations of the legislature, stating: “No one is above the law.”

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