BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi lawmakers attempted to oust the speaker of parliament amid a political crisis roiling the house where dozens of legislators have been holding a sit-in protest for the third consecutive day. The move followed calls for all of the country's top political leadership to step down, including the Prime Minister.
Protesting lawmakers held an emergency session Thursday and claim to have the votes needed to make quorum and oust the speaker, but the speaker's media office has called the vote "invalid," claiming the lawmakers don't have the number of votes needed.
The move has further deepened the ongoing political crisis in Baghdad. Earlier this week lawmakers resorted to throwing water bottles and punching each other after parliament delayed a vote on a new Cabinet proposed by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
Parliament speaker, Salim al-Jibouri, responded to calls for him to leave his post by formally calling for parliament to be dissolved Wednesday. The chaotic scenes reflected a growing political crisis in Iraq, even as the country wages war against the Islamic State group. Eventually the scuffles subsided and no one was seriously hurt.
On Tuesday, parliament delayed voting on new Cabinet ministers proposed by al-Abadi in an attempt to push through reforms, nearly nine months after he first proposed austerity measures that he claimed would also tackle corruption.
Many Iraqis blame their lawmakers for entrenched corruption that has exacerbated the current economic crisis engulfing the country.