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Will Iraq’s federal government survive?

Years of mismanagement and corruption are catching up with the Iraqi government. Prime minister Heider al-Abadi’s administration is hanging on by a thread

Few idiosyncrasies of the Iraqi political system generate as much ire as the muhasasa, or quota system, the post-election allocation of ministries based on parliamentary seats and ethno-sectarian quotas. It is this system, which favours identity over skill, that prime minister Haider al-Abadi is now taking on – and why he is struggling to keep his government intact. The problem is, while a host of politicians publicly favour reform, they privately fear a loss of power. Bizarrely, a notable politician standing with Abadi (for now) is the unpredictable and radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Al Sadr might just give Abadi the weight he needs. Until now, muhasasa, which treats cabinet positions as

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