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Iraq MPs Pull Back from Drastic Pay Cuts

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TEHRAN, Feb 21 (ICANA) – Iraqi MPs decided against slashing their salaries and those of ministers on Sunday, opting instead for smaller cuts in a vote in parliament despite government calls for dramatic decreases.
Monday, February 21, 2011 10:28:02 PM
Iraq MPs Pull Back from Drastic Pay Cuts

Sunday's pay cuts will result in annual savings of at least $4.9 million (3.58 million euros), compared to $19 million in yearly savings that would have resulted had a proposal submitted by the cabinet been approved. Salaries of ministers and lawmakers, currently set at $11,000 (8,000 euros) per month, will decline by 10 percent as part of cost-cutting measures that also include the cancellation of expense accounts for Iraq's president and parliament speaker and their deputies, each of which was greater than $1 million a year. "They are selfish -- the government submitted its proposal for bigger cuts, but MPs refused," said a government official, speaking on condition of anonymity. Cabinet secretary general Ali al-Alaak told AFP on Wednesday that the government wanted to slash pay for ministers and MPs by nearly 40 percent. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and President Jalal Talabani have both said previously that they wished to halve their salaries. The government official said Maliki intended to stick to his pledge, but it was unclear if Talabani would do so as well. The vote comes amid nationwide protests against widespread corruption, poor basic services and high levels of unemployment, and after a popular MP in Maliki's bloc resigned after describing parliament as an institution "hamstrung by quotas and cronyism."

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