On February 27, 2011, Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said he was giving the country’s ministers 100 days to reform or they would be sacked. This came after the February 25 Day of Rage protests, which occurred across ten provinces. In a recent interview with the Associated Press, the premier gave ample loopholes for the government to escape his deadline.
During the Day of Rage, angry Iraqis took to the streets in eighteen different cities. In several circumstances, the protests turned violent, attacking government offices. In many cases, this led to the security forces firing into the crowds to disperse them, which resulted in 39 deaths, and several dozen wounded. Before and after the day, Prime Minister Maliki tried to use carrots and sticks to deter the assemblies. One of those was Maliki’s announcement that he was giving Iraq’s ministers 100 days to improve services and their overall performance.
On April 2, the Associated Press published an interview with the premier where he discussed his deadline. Maliki said he was confident that the government would be successful within the 100-day timeframe, which ends on June 7, and that some ministries were already doing a better job. He said that a committee appointed by himself would assess each ministry, and that those that were making progress, but had not met their marks could be given an additional 100 days. He seemed to be saying that everyone would get a pass no matter what, and that time was not a real issue.
The 100-day evaluation period, was just one of many concessions the prime minister made in lieu of the protests spreading across Iraq. Since poor services was one of the main demands made by demonstrators, Maliki’s move seemed an astute one. His interview with the Associated Press however, revealed that there is no real deadline, that most if not all the ministries will be proclaimed reformed, and that things will continue as usual. The premier was simply trying to placate the demonstrators. It will probably take years before Baghdad has the money and resources to meet the demands of the public. What matters to Maliki in this situation, is not improving his governance, but rather trying to stem the tide of the on-going demonstrations in Iraq.
Jakes, Lara and Abdul-Zahra, Qassim, “AP Interview: Iraqi PM confident on reforms,” Associated Press, 4/2/11
Mohammed, Muhanad, “Iraq PM sets 100 day deadline for gov after protests,” Reuters, 2/27/11