Iraqi PM Abadi says not seek­ing re-elec­tion af­ter protests

Tehran Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

As Iraq moves closer to form­ing a new gov­ern­ment, the in­cum­bent Prime Min­is­ter Haider al-Abadi says he is not seek­ing to serve a sec­ond term in of­fice.

“We re­spect and obey the in­struc­tions of the re­li­gious au­thor­ity Ay­a­tol­lah Ali al-Sis­tani. I did not and will not re­quest the post of prime min­is­ter in the sec­ond term,” he said at a news con­fer­ence in Bagh­dad on Thurs­day. Ay­a­tol­lah Sis­tani, the coun­try’s most se­nior cleric, said ear­lier in the week that Iraq needed new faces in the gov­ern­ment as protests es­ca­lated in the south­ern oil-rich city of Basra and Bagh­dad. “Our ser­vice for the peo­ple will con­tinue un­til the new gov­ern­ment is es­tab­lished,” Abadi said on Thurs­day, call­ing for peace­ful ways to change the gov­ern­ment.

Abadi has faced calls to re­sign af­ter protests in Basra last Fri­day took an ugly turn when a group of masked as­sailants raided gov­ern­ment build­ings and of­fices of po­lit­i­cal par­ties and set them ablaze.

Af­ter the protests, Muq­tada al-Sadr whose Sairoon (March­ing To­wards Re­form) bloc came first in the par­lia­men­tary elec­tions has ap­par­ently backed down on his will­ing­ness to form an al­liance with Abadi. Over the week­end, Sadr’s bloc and the fac­tion led by Hadi al-Amiri, the head of Badr Or­ga­ni­za­tion which is Iraq’s big­gest anti-ter­ror para­mil­i­tary group, used an emer­gency meet­ing held at the par­lia­ment to call on Abadi to re­sign.

The par­lia­ment is to elect a new speaker on Satur­day, with Amiri say­ing he would work with Sadr to form a new gov­ern­ment.

Protesters in Basra are an­gry about en­demic cor­rup­tion, col­laps­ing in­fra­struc­ture, poor pub­lic ser­vices, high rates of poverty, soar­ing un­em­ploy­ment, and con­tam­i­na­tion of potable wa­ter.

Abadi said on Thurs­day a team of ad­vis­ers would “as­sure the im­me­di­ate im­ple­men­ta­tion” of new wa­ter pump­ing, rout­ing, and fil­tra­tion projects there.

The prime min­is­ter paid a visit to Basra Mon­day at the head of a large del­e­ga­tion, in­clud­ing the min­is­ters of in­for­ma­tion, de­fense, in­te­rior, health and wa­ter re­sources.

“We came here to co­op­er­ate with lo­cal res­i­dents and to pro­vide them with the ser­vices they need. We will not leave Basra un­til sev­eral projects aimed at im­prov­ing pub­lic ser­vices are launched,” he said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Iran

© PressReader. All rights reserved.