Iraq's cabinet clamped down on boycotting ministers from the Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc by decreeing on Tuesday that they could not run their ministries while staying away from its meetings.
The reprisals were the latest escalation in a festering dispute between the Shiite-led government and Iraqiya that erupted last month as US troops completed their withdrawal from Iraq.
“The cabinet decided that boycotting ministers are not allowed to run their ministries and all their signed decisions are nullified,” a statement from government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said.
Dabbagh said the cabinet had decided that ministers already nominated as temporary replacements on January 4 would take over the duties of their boycotting colleagues.
Since late December, Iraqiya has been largely boycotting parliament and the cabinet in protest at what they say is Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's centralisation of power.