Parliament approves Iraqi prime minister’s resignation

Parliament approves Iraqi prime minister’s resignation

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s parliament yesterday voted to accept the resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi after weeks of violent anti-government protests that have rocked the country.

Abdul Mahdi’s decision to quit came after a call by Iraq’s top Shiite Muslim cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani for parliament to consider withdrawing its support for Abdul Mahdi’s government to stem the violence.

“The Iraqi parliament will ask the president of state to nominate a new prime minister,” a statement from parliament’s media office said.

Lawmakers said Abdul Mahdi’s government, including the prime minister himself, would stay on in a caretaker capacity until a new government is chosen.

Under the constitution, President Barham Salih is expected to ask the largest bloc in parliament to nominate a new prime minister to form a government, a move expected to trigger weeks of political wrangling.

Iraqi forces have killed nearly 400 mostly young, unarmed demonstrators since mass anti-government protests broke out on Oct 1. More than a dozen members of the security forces have also died in clashes.

Abdul Mahdi’s resignation, though welcomed by protesters, is not expected to end the demonstrations, which have called for an overhaul of a political system accused of being corrupt and keeping most of the population in poverty.

Protesters yesterday torched the Iranian consulate in Najaf for the second time in a week, police and civil defense sources said.

Demonstrators entered the consulate in Najaf on last week and set fire to the entire building, drawing a deadly response from security forces and escalating the unrest that has led to Abdul Mahdi’s resignation.

Demonstrations are continuing in Baghdad and other southern regions. Security forces killed one protester and wounded nine others near a bridge in the capital on Sunday, police and a medical source said.


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