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Iraqi Protesters Reject Leadership Changes, Demand Systemic Overhaul

Iraqi Protesters Reject Leadership Changes, Demand Systemic Overhaul

BAGHDAD - Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi will step down only if parliament's main blocs can agree on his replacement, the country's president said on Thursday, but tens of thousands of protesters said his resignation would not be enough.

Peoples from across Iraq's sectarian and ethnic divides thronged Baghdad's Tahrir Square in a show of fury at an elite they see as deeply corrupt, beholden to foreign powers and responsible for daily privations and shambolic public services.

More than 250 people have been killed in clashes with security forces and paramilitary groups since protests began on Oct. 1 and eventually swelled into the worst mass unrest in Iraq since the 2003 fall of Saddam Hussein.

Abdul Mahdi, who despite promises of reforms and a broad reshuffle of his cabinet, has struggled to address the street's demands. He has refused calls for an early election made by his erstwhile main supporter, populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

"The prime minister had previously agreed to submit his resignation, if the blocs agree on an acceptable replacement in order to adhere to constitutional and legal frameworks," President Barham Salih said in a live televised address.

Abdul Mahdi said on Tuesday it would be quicker if Sadr and his main rival Hadi al-Amiri agreed on a replacement, and would prevent months of chaos.

 

Aliqismet BADALOV,
“Khalq qazeti”

1 November 2019 12:08 -
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