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Iraq's federal court rules against prime minister's reforms

FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2016, file photo, Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, speaks during a ceremony marking Police Day at the police academy in Baghdad, Iraq. Iraq’s supreme court struck down key reforms proposed by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Monday, Oct. 10, 2016, marking another setback for the increasingly isolated leader as he seeks to unite the country ahead of a march on the Islamic State-held city of Mosul. The premier had proposed abolishing the two vice presidential and deputy prime minister posts, largely ceremonial positions created after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion to give the Sunni and Kurdish minorities a greater presence in the Shiite-led government. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim, File)

FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2016, file photo, Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, speaks during a ceremony marking Police Day at the police academy in Baghdad, Iraq. Iraq’s supreme court struck down key reforms proposed by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Monday, Oct. 10, 2016, marking another setback for the increasingly isolated leader as he seeks to unite the country ahead of a march on the Islamic State-held city of Mosul. The premier had proposed abolishing the two vice presidential and deputy prime minister posts, largely ceremonial positions created after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion to give the Sunni and Kurdish minorities a greater presence in the Shiite-led government. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim, File)  (The Associated Press)

Iraq's federal court says Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's proposal to abolish the largely ceremonial posts of vice president and deputy prime minister is unconstitutional.

The court's decision on Monday states that under Iraq's constitution abolishing the posts would require the approval of an absolute majority in parliament followed by a referendum presented to the Iraqi people.

Al-Abadi canceled the posts last year as part of a wide-ranging reform plan that was approved by his Cabinet and passed by Parliament. It was intended to shore up public support for his government in the face of widespread protests.

The federal court's decision underscores the enduring weakness of the Iraqi government as the country prepares to retake the city of Mosul from the Islamic State group.