Iraq PM designate says Parliament will vote on first 'independent' Cabinet

Parliamentarians are expected to meet on Thursday to determine Mohammed Allawi's proposed government

Volunteers prepare free food next to a poster of Iraq's Prime Minister-designate Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi with Arabic that reads, "Rejected by the people" during ongoing anti-government protests in Tahrir Square, Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. Allawi on Wednesday called on parliament to hold a confidence vote in his newly formed cabinet. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
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Iraq's Prime Minister designate Mohammed Allawi vowed on Wednesday that Parliament will vote for the first "independent" government this week. Parliamentarians are expected to convene on Thursday to vote on Mr Allawi's ministerial programme and selection for 22 Cabinet ministers.

He needs 166 of the 329 Iraqi MPs to vote in favour of his Cabinet to secure his position in government. “Tomorrow,  the vote will be on the first government line-up of qualified and independent candidates,” Mr Allawi said on Twitter.

The next government “will restore the people’s rights and the country’s status,” he said.

Heads of Parliament urged Mr Allawi to reveal his government programme and names of his proposed ministers before the meeting. Thursday’s session is expected to start at 1pm Baghdad time.

President Barham Salih appointed Mr Allawi, the former communications minister, to the position on Februray 2.

He had a month-long deadline to form a new government, which he is expected to lead until early elections.

Mr Allawi expressed concerns on Tuesday of a rumoured plan to thwart his Cabinet. He spoke of a "bribery attempt" among politicians in Baghdad that would ensure his government will not pass on Thursday.

Deep-seated mistrust and political divisions have prolonged the country's governmental formation. But Mr Allawi vowed that his next government will not allow corruption and graft to take place.

The development comes as anti-government protests continued on the streets of Baghdad demanding a Cabinet overhaul and an end to corruption.

Three protesters were killed late Tuesday in the capital as security forces used live ammunition and tear gas, according to the Iraqi High Commission of Human Rights.

More than 500 people have been killed since the protest movement started in early October.