What Happened: The Iraqi parliament has approved a second reform package to ease ongoing popular unrest, Shafaaq reported Oct. 9. The measures include the suspension of the country's 19 provincial councils until the 2020 elections, soft loans to factory owners and financial support for unemployed Iraqis and students, among other proposals.
Why It Matters: The parliament previously announced economic benefits and cash handouts to help to quell protests, but Baghdad will likely face challenges in implementing many of the new measures. Meanwhile, the decision to freeze the work of the provincial councils seems geared toward addressing systemic corruption in the delivery of municipal services and shifting some of the blame for the country's economic situation onto local authorities.
Background: Iraq has been experiencing a week of violent anti-government protests, which have resulted in over 165 deaths, according to the country's Health Ministry. The actual number of fatalities is likely much higher.
- Iraq: Metastasizing Protests Threaten to Upend the Government (Oct. 4, 2019)
- Building Pressures Risk Tearing Iraq's Fragile Government Apart (Sept. 25, 2019)
- Why Iraq Could Be the Next Regional Powder Keg (Aug. 23, 2019)