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 on Friday came after a call by Iraq’s top Shi’ite 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.
Iraqi forces have killed nearly 400 mostly young, unarmed demonstrators since mass anti-government protests broke out on October 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 defence sources said.
Demonstrators entered the consulate in Najaf on Wednesday 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.
The arson attack on the consulate comes amidst reports that Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – Quds Force, is currently present in Baghdad.