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Iraqi Parliament Cancels Antigraft Session Amid Political Row

Iraq's parliament has canceled a session on anticorruption reforms amid a deepening political crisis that has crippled state institutions.

The session was the third to be canceled this week as politicians wrangled over a plan to appoint technocrats to Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi's cabinet in a bid to stem graft.

The office of parliament speaker Salim al-Jaburi said in a statement on April 16 that the session was scrapped because "parliament couldn't be secured" by the security forces.

Some lawmakers have accused Jaburi of having no right to chair the meeting.

The dissenting members of parliament met on April 14 in his absence and held a ballot to oust him.

They say they have a majority in the assembly, which Jaburi disputes. Scuffles between lawmakers broke out on April 13, a day after the first attempted vote.

Hours after the failed vote on April 16, powerful Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr gave parliament three days to vote in a new cabinet.

Sadr said in a statement that "a cabinet of independent technocrats" should be presented in "less than 72 hours, while keeping the sit-in in parliament with unlimited popular support through peaceful protests."

Sadr was referring to a lawmakers' sit-in that began earlier in the week in protest over a modified list of candidates that Abadi had planned to present.

The United Nations and the United States have warned that the political feud could undermine Iraq's fight against Islamic State militants who control areas in northern and western Iraq.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP