BAGHDAD, April 27 (UPI) -- Iraq's Parliament on Tuesday approved Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi's proposals to partially reshuffle the country's Cabinet as hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered in Baghdad.
Under the order of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, the protesters gathered in Baghdad's Tahrir Square and demanded new government leaders and reforms that have been delayed for years. Many in Iraq are dissatisfied with the state of the country over rampant corruption, economic stagnation and the Iraqi military's inefficiency against the Islamic State.
The Parliament voted on seven posts on Tuesday. Some incumbent ministers were not replaced. The Parliament will reconvene on Thursday to vote on the remaining 21 positions to determine who will become the ministers of education, communications and justice.
"Today the change has been achieved by your insistence," Khadhum al-Essawi, an assistant to Sadr, told protesters Tuesday evening. "We are demanding to change the whole Cabinet with no exceptions, but we accepted the current change just to let things move on."
New leaders have been designated to the ministries of health, water resources, electricity, higher education, culture and labor and social affairs. The new ministers are not aligned to Iraqi political parties and are instead aligned to nationwide ethnic and sectarian identities.
Abadi has been working to tackle corruption and to reduce the size of government that is often seen as divisive and self-serving. The Iraqi ministers of defense and interior will not yet be replaced due to Iraq's security concerns.