Iraq’s parliament approves prime minister’s resignation

Iraq’s parliament has approved the resignation of Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, which came after top Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani urged the parliament to “reconsider” its support for the incumbent government.

Iraqi legislators approved Abdul-Mahdi’s resignation during a parliament session held in the capital, Baghdad, on Sunday afternoon.

Abdul-Mahdi’s administration is expected to take on a caretaker role until the largest bloc in the parliament agrees on a new candidate to replace him.

Speaker Mohammad al-Halbusi said President Bahram Salih would now ask the largest political bloc in parliament to nominate the next prime minister.

Abdul-Mahdi announced in a statement on Friday that he would submit his resignation to parliament in response to a call by the country’s top Shia cleric, who urged Iraqi lawmakers to “reconsider” their options regarding the future of Iraq.

“In response to this call, and in order to facilitate it as quickly as possible, I will present to parliament a demand (to accept) my resignation from the leadership of the current government,” a statement signed by Abdul Mahdi said on Friday.

Earlier that day, Grand Ayatollah Sistani had through a representative urged lawmakers to “reconsider” their support for the government amid the demonstrations.

Abdul-Mahdi said he had made his decision in response to the revered cleric’s call and in order to “facilitate and hasten its fulfillment as soon as possible.”

Nearly two months of protests have rocked primarily Baghdad and the southern areas of Iraq. The protesters have been expressing frustration with a failing economy and have demanded reforms.

The rallies have, however, turned into violent confrontations on numerous occasions.

Since October 1, more than 300 people have been killed in the country, according to the Iraqi parliament’s human rights commission.

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