The Iraqi parliament accepted the resignation of the prime minister in conflict on Sunday Adel Abdul Mahdi after weeks of major protests demanding better economic conditions and a reform of the country's political system.
The 77-year-old man announced Friday his decision to resign after The main Shiite leader of Iraq, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, urged lawmakers to withdraw support from the government for its handling of demonstrations in which some 400 people have been killed by security forces since early October.
Abdul Mahdi will now remain a caregiver until a new prime minister is elected, a process that has been going on for months in the past.
Abdul Mahdi was pushed to work just over a year after the inconclusive elections led to weeks of political stalemate.
At that time, he was seen as the engagement candidate of Muqtada al-Sadr, a Shiite populist leader who heads the largest block of parliament, and Hadi al-Amiri, who leads an Iranian backing coalition militias known as Hashd al-Shaabi, or Popular mobilization forces (PMF), as well as the Fatah parliamentary bloc. Iraqi Kurdish ethnic parties also supported him.
Abdul Mahdi inherited a country reeling from a devastating war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Levante (ISIL or ISIS) armed group, which in 2014 controlled a third of Iraqi territory.
Although the ISIL was finally defeated in 2017, the country's infrastructure had been largely ruined after decades of near-constant conflict, including a US-led invasion and international sanctions.
The Iraqi parliament approves the resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi
For decades, Iraq was a single-party state ruled with an iron fist by Saddam Hussein's Baath party.
This changed after the US-led invasion. in 2003 he overthrew Hussein and the subsequent establishment of a political system that divided the branches of government and senior official positions using a quota system based on ethnic and religious affiliations.
But for many Iraqis, this system it allowed certain individuals and groups to constantly enrich themselves and expand their influence, while much of the population of the oil-rich country continued to endure severe economic difficulties and low living standards.
For two months, anger over unemployment, poor public services and unbridled corruption has led tens of thousands of people in Baghdad and across southern Iraq to take to the streets, directing their anger not only at the government but at The whole political class.
The outbreak of outrage has been met with a harsh response by security forces, who have found that they used excessive force and live fire to quell the demonstrations.
Protests in Iraq: how tuk-tuk became a symbol of resistance (2:01)
At the beginning of the riots, Abdul Mahdi said "there was no magic solution,quot; to Iraq's problems, adding that progress would take time. He later moved to calm the protesters by offering a range of concessions, including a reorganization of the cabinet and a package of reforms.
However, the measures failed to appease the protesters.
"The Iraqis are demanding the end of the current sectarian and ethnic-based political system established by the US occupation forces after they invaded Iraq," said Liqa Makki, an Iraqi political analyst.
Makki argued that Abdul Mahdi could be a product of the post-2003 political system, but he should not be held responsible for all Iraq's problems, given his short time in office.
However, Makki said the prime minister had failed to improve the Iraqi economy and "control,quot; the powerful PMF, which has a great influence on the country's politics.
The resignation of the Iraqi prime minister would only be the "first step," protesters say
Abdul Mahdi's resignation seems certain that he will end his five-decade political career that in recent years saw him sustain several ministerial jobs and the position of vice president.
But despite this experience, Muhanad Seloom, assistant professor of safety studies at the Graduate Studies Institute of Doha, He said Abdul Mahdi still "lacked the government and statesman skills necessary to govern a diverse and unstable country like Iraq, especially in the postwar years."
Seloom described him as an inherently weak leader due to being a prime minister of commitment without having his own parliamentary bloc to support him.
Therefore, "I was doomed to fail," said Seloom.
Although Abdul MahdiThe game is unlikely to mark the beginning of a new political system, as many protesters demand, "his resignation, especially after the murder of dozens of Iraqi protesters, will hold him individually responsible for the failures of the entire Iraqi government system," he said. Ihsan al-Shammri, head of the Center for Thought and Political Studies, a group of experts based in Baghdad.
"But that is not completely the case."
"Abdul Mahdi is a victim of the same dysfunctional political system that brought him to power in the first place."
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