Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi announced his resignation on Friday, November 29 after the country’s top Shi’ite Muslim cleric called for lawmakers to reconsider their support for a government rocked by weeks of deadly anti-establishment unrest, Reuters reports.
“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.
The statement did not say when he would resign. Parliament is to convene an emergency session on Sunday to discuss the crisis.
Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani earlier urged parliament to considering withdrawing its support for Abdul Mahdi’s government to stem spiralling violence.
Security forces meanwhile shot dead at least three people in the southern city of Nassiriya as clashes continued.
Iraqi forces have killed nearly 400 mostly young, unarmed demonstrators people since mass anti-government protests broke out on Oct. 1. More than a dozen members of the security forces have also died in clashes.
The burning of Iran’s consulate in the holy city of Najaf on Wednesday escalated violence and drew a brutal response from security forces who shot dead more than 60 people nationwide on Thursday.
The unrest is Iraq’s biggest crisis for years. It pits protesters from Shi’ite heartlands in Baghdad and the south against a corrupt Shi’ite-dominated ruling elite seen as pawns of Iran.