BAGHDAD, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- Prime Minister of Iraq Haider al-Abadi on Sunday unveiled significant reforms aiming to reduce government costs and fight corruption after weeks of nationwide protests.
Al-Abadi proposed to eradicate the political positions of vice president and deputy prime minister. In Iraq, there are three vice presidents and three deputy prime ministers.
He said that senior appointments should not be based on sectarian or party quotas and also suggested reducing the number of personal government bodyguards as to cut costs.
Al-Abadi's proposed reforms come amid nationwide protests over apparent government corruption and incompetence. The protests began due to unreliable electricity amid a heatwave, where temperatures in some parts of Iraq have reached 123 degrees Fahrenheit.
The prime minister also called for a quota for government positions to be filled by political independents and for an increase in the budget for national security forces.
Iraq's most influential Shia cleric, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, on Friday called on Al-Abadi to "strike with an iron fist" against corruption and to make political appointments based on ability, rather than by affiliation.
Al-Abadi's cabinet has backed his reforms, but the leader needs the approval of Iraq's parliament -- where he has a majority of support.