BAGHDAD — The Iraqi parliament on Sunday accepted Prime Minister Adel Abdel-Mahdi’s resignation after weeks of anti-government protests in the country, Iraqi state television reported.
The assembly will ask the country’s head of state to name a new prime minister according to the Iraqi constitution, al-Iraqiya added, quoting parliamentary speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi.
On Friday, Abdel-Mahdi said he would step down, bowing to a key demand from protesters.
Abdel-Mahdi, who took office in October last year, also asked parliament to promptly install a replacement to defuse tensions in the country, which has been gripped by violent protests for the past two months.
He said his resignation automatically means the resignation of his government that now becomes a caretaker cabinet until a new one is formed.
Street protests have roiled Iraq since early October, with demonstrators calling for the resignation of the government, the dissolution of parliament and an overhaul of the country’s political system, which has been in place since the 2003 United States-led invasion of Iraq.
At least 380 people, mostly protesters, have since been killed in the capital Baghdad and the southern province, according to the semi-official watchdog, the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights.
Iraqi authorities had issued an arrest warrant against a military chief for ordering a deadly clampdown on anti-government rallies in the southern province of Dhi Qar, a judicial body said on Sunday.
The Supreme Judicial Council, Iraq’s highest judicial authority, said an investigative commission issued an arrest warrant against General Jamil al-Shammari, who was in charge of security in the southern province of Dhi Qar, Iraq’s official news agency INA reported.
The panel also ordered a travel ban on al-Shammari, who was removed from the post on Thursday.
This week, at least 32 people were killed in clashes between security forces and protesters in Dhi Qar, according to witnesses.
The parliament on Sunday tasked its defense and security committee with heading to Dhi Qar and Najaf — another volatile southern province, according to al-Iraqiya.
Several rights groups have accused the Iraqi security forces of using excessive violence to quell the protests.
Iraqi authorities have repeatedly accused “outlaws” of taking advantage of peaceful protests to attack demonstrators and security forces, and of vandalizing public and private property.
The demonstrations are the largest in Iraq since December 2017, when Baghdad declared the liberation of all territory previously under the control of Islamic State extremists.