Iraq’s PM agrees to resign after weeks of protests and hundreds of casualties
In a televised speech to the nation on Iraq’s Al-Iraqiya TV, President Barham Salih said Abdul Mahdi had agreed to step down on the condition that a successor is agreed to replace him.
“The prime minister has agreed to resign,” Salih said, adding that Abdul Mahdi had asked “political blocs to reach an acceptable alternative” in order “to prevent a vacuum.”
One of Iraq’s leading Shiite clerics and most powerful politicians, Muqtada al-Sadr, had called on other parties Tuesday to back his push for a no-confidence vote in Abdul Mahdi.
The protests, which have gripped parts of Iraq for the past month, were sparked by longstanding complaints over unemployment, government corruption, and a lack of basic services — such as electricity and clean water.
Many Iraqis blame the current political parties in power for their economic hardship and the scale of the protests, believed to be the biggest since the fall of Saddam Hussein
in 2003, took the government by surprise.
Officials have attempted to regain control with the use of lethal force, while also imposing curfews and internet blackouts. The government said it only shoots when attacked, but those who have taken part in the demonstrations have disputed that.
More than 200 protestors have been killed, and thousands injured, since the protests began earlier this month.