ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The two main factions in the Iraqi Parliament have agreed to work to oust current Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi amid ongoing, violent nationwide protests.
On Monday, influential Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called for “early elections under the supervision of the United Nations,” as university and college students in several provinces joined protests marred by violence since they resumed on Friday.
On Tuesday, he responded to Abdul Mahdi, who rejected the call for early elections. “I thought asking you to call for early elections will preserve your dignity,” Sadr said in a statement.
“I ask Mr. Hadi Al-Amiri to cooperate in the withdrawal of confidence from you immediately, to work together in changing the Electoral Commission and its law, and agree on comprehensive reforms, including the provisions of the constitution to be put to the vote and in the absence of the Parliament vote, then the people will choose.”
Sadr’s statement comes three days after the Sairoon parliamentary alliance – which he leads – announced it would be moving to the legislature’s opposition.
It also urged other factions to follow suit to force the passage of reforms demanded by anti-corruption protesters across the country.
Hadi al-Amiri, who is the leader of the Iran-backed Badr Organization, accepted Sadr’s request on Tuesday, stating they would “work together to achieve the interests of the Iraqi people and save the country as required by the public interest.”
Sairoon is at the head of one of the two largest blocs in parliament and came first in last year’s election with 54 seats out of a total of 329.
After months of political deadlock, along with its competitor – Amiri’s Fatah Alliance – it agreed to a compromise candidate, Abdul Mahdi, to form a government.
Protests in Iraq began on Friday, quickly turning violent as they continued on Tuesday for the fifth day, reportedly resulting in the death of at least 24 individuals.
Another bout of demonstrations earlier in the month went on for about a week, leaving at least 140 dead.
Demonstrators have been calling for an end to the economic woes of the people of Iraq—demands that have been repeatedly made during such protests.