Abadi blames budget delay on Kurdish MP-Jabouri ‘secret agreement’


Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has accused Kurdish MPs and the speaker of parliament, a Sunni, of politicizing the 2018 budget bill for political gains

“There are those who want to stop the budget for political reasons,” Abadi tweeted on Friday.

Iraq has yet to pass a 2018 spending bill.

Kurdish MPs have repeatedly boycotted parliamentary sessions to prevent a quorum, which would allow a vote to be held on what they view as an illegal and unconstitutional bill that does not meet the needs of the KRG.

The Speaker of Iraqi Parliament Salim al-Jabouri sent an official invitation to the Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and the Iraqi President Fuad Masum to meet to discuss the budget bill, Shwan Dawoudi, a PUK MP, told Rudaw on Wednesday.

“He had used high voices in public regarding the region’s high budget, and today wants a secret agreement with some parties in Kurdistan to stop the budget with flimsy arguments,” Abadi said in an apparent reference to Jabouri.

Abadi is in an election year and faces stiff competition to rally votes as he and the previous Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki have decided on separate election lists. Abadi is a member of the Dawa Party, headed by Maliki.

“The delay of budget is a game and I demand people to expose it. I see no excuses for disruption of the budget and citizens will be punished by their [MPs] vote to delay the interests of the country,” added Abadi in a string of tweets.

The five Kurdish political factions have met with the prime minister, but Abadi has not changed his position. Speaker Jabouri told journalists on Monday that the proposed budget bill does not follow constitutional and legal procedures.

Kurdish MPs have a number of concerns, notably decreasing the Kurdistan Regional Government’s budget share from 17 to 12.6 percent.

The Central Bank of Iraq sent $210 million to its branch in Erbil on January 29, but the KRG says they don’t know what the funds are for. Kurdistan’s finance ministry has explained they have no direct relations or authority over the Erbil branch of the Iraqi central bank.

Source: Rudaw

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