Dissident MPs hold vote to remove Salim al-Jubouri as arguments escalate over new 'technocrat' cabinet to tackle corruption
Iraqi MPs on Thursday held a vote to remove the parliamentary speaker and his deputies amid continuing political chaos over Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's proposed new cabinet list.
But the vote and parliamentary session, which was held without Salim al-Jubouri or his two deputies present, could be challenged on procedural grounds.
Jubouri said in a statement that the session was unconstitutional and that the required quorum of 165 was not reached.
The session held "in the absence of the presidency of parliament is unconstitutional and lacked the necessary quorum," he said.
Niyazi Oghlu, the official responsible for taking a role call at parliament, put the number of MPs present at 173, while two other MPs told the AFP news agency that more than 170 attended.
The vast majority of the 105 MPs from former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law bloc were present for the vote.
The session came a day after Jabouri threatened to dissolve parliament after weeks of political wrangling over attempts by the Iraqi prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, to force through a new cabinet of "technocrats".
The new cabinet would be part of attempts to rein in political corruption in Iraq, which critics say costs the country billions of dollars every year.
Dissenting MPs argue that Abadi drew up his list in consultation with Iraq's main political parties, upholding the system of ethnic and sectarian quotas in the constitution.
Critics say these allow certain groups to amass more wealth and influence than others.
The dissenters want Abadi to stick to an initial line-up of non-partisan technocrats he presented on 31 March.
Abadi announced that list following weeks of protests outside Baghdad's Green Zone by supporters of the influential cleric Moqtada al-Sadr calling for political reforms.
On Thursday, some of the dissenters, who include Sunni and Shia members of parliament, said they planned to request a no-confidence vote in Abadi, a Shia, Jabouri, a Sunni, and the Iraqi president, Fuad Masum, a Kurd.
"The only subject we are willing to discuss is deposing the three presidents," Haytham al-Jabouri, a spokesman for the dissenting MPs, told a news conference.