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Iraqi Prime Minister Pledges Anticorruption Drive


Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi has pledged to stamp out graft this year.

"2016 is the year of eliminating corruption," Abadi said in a January 9 speech at a Baghdad ceremony marking the anniversary of Iraq's police force.

The comments came a day after the country’s highest Shi'ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, renewed his calls to the government to reform the administration and combat corruption.

"A year has lapsed and nothing has been achieved on the ground," his representative, Sheikh Ahmad al-Safi, told worshipers in Karbala on January 8.

Abadi launched a reform campaign last year to tackle graft and incompetence following mass protests against corruption, poor services, and reckless government spending.

While some officials are periodically punished for corruption, more powerful politicians who have allegedly engaged in greater graft remain at large.

Abadi also expressed hope on January 9 that this year will bring the “military end” of the Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq.

IS militants seized large swaths of Iraq and neighboring Syria in a lightning offensive in June 2014.

With reporting by Reuters
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