Iraqi PM will not resign in wake of nationwide protests: spokesperson

“The resignation of the government could lead the country into a dangerous situation.”

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A spokesperson for Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi said on Sunday that the Iraqi leader would not resign in the wake of ongoing nationwide protests.

“Abdul Mahdi will not resign in this critical and difficult circumstance,” spokesperson Sa’ad Al-Hadaithi told local Iraqi media.

“The resignation of the government could lead the country into a dangerous situation,” he added. “We warn of the loss of civil peace and the collapse of the country into chaos.”

The Sairoon Coalition led by cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Saturday announced it would be moving to the legislature’s opposition amid flaring public unrest. 

It also urged other factions to follow suit in order to force the passage of reforms demanded by anti-corruption protesters across the country.

Read More: Sadr's party to withdraw from Iraqi parliament as protest death toll mounts

“The prime minister continues to respond to the legitimate demands of the demonstrators and will not allow the loss of control of the situation,” Hadaithi said on Sunday.

Protests across Iraq began calmly on Friday but quickly turned violent, eventually resulting in the death of nearly 80 people by Sunday.

Read More: Nearly 80 dead as gov. buildings, political party offices torched in ongoing Iraq protests

Friday’s chaos followed several days of calm after a week-long wave of deadly protests in early October, which left at least 140 people dead and thousands more injured.

In the days following the first surge of protests, Abdul Mahdi attempted to calm demonstrators with promises of reform and a cabinet shuffle. 

So far, such moves have failed to quell the anger of the public, which continues to call for a complete governmental overhaul amid shortages of public services, high rates of unemployment, and chronic institutional corruption.