Iraq’s government risks deepening a political crisis by barring Sunni Muslim cabinet members from attending its sessions, a lawmaker and member of the Sunni- backed al Iraqiya coalition said.
The government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, doesn’t have the right to dismiss the ministers because they were appointed by parliament, Abdul Khider al-Taher said today in a telephone interview from Baghdad.
“Such decisions don’t only affect the Iraqiya bloc ministers but also affect the administrative structure of the ministries and their work,” he said, adding that Al-Iraqiya will meet tomorrow to decide what course of action to take.
Iraqi government spokesman Ali al Dabbagh said earlier today that the ministers are no longer “allowed to manage ministries, and all decisions that will be signed by them are invalid.” They will be allowed back if a boycott is ended, he said.
Some of the ministers started a boycott in December after an arrest warrant was issued for Vice President Tariq al- Hashimi, a Sunni, on terrorism charges. Al-Hashimi denies the charges and has sought refuge in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region as politicians hold talks on ways to defuse tensions.
Al-Iraqiya has eight ministers in the cabinet. The government didn’t indicate whether all of them were suspended.
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