BAGHDAD-Iraq’s prime minister said he would submit his resignation to parliament, a day after more than 40 people were killed by security forces and following calls by Iraq’s top Shiite cleric for lawmakers to withdraw support.
The move by Adel Abdul-Mahdi 13 months after he took over as prime minister triggered celebrations by anti-government protesters who have been camped out in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square for nearly two months. Young men and women broke out in song and dance as news of his imminent resignation reached the square, the capital’s largest.
In a statement, Abdul-Mahdi said he had “listened with great concern” to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani’s sermon and made his decision in response to his call and in order to “facilitate and hasten its fulfillment as soon as possible.”
“I will submit to parliament an official memorandum resigning from the current prime ministry so that the parliament can review its choices,” he said. Abdul-Mahdi was appointed prime minister just over a year ago as a consensus candidate between political blocs.
Al-Sistani said parliament, which elected the government of Abdul-Mahdi, should “reconsider its options” in his weekly Friday sermon delivered in the holy city of Najaf via a representative. “We call upon the House of Representatives from which this current government emerged to reconsider its options in that regard,” al-Sistani said in the statement — a clear sign he was withdrawing his support for the prime minister.