Parliament must be dissolved before polls: Iraq PM


Iraq cannot hold early election before dissolving parliament, Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi said on Tuesday amid mass protests in the country.

In a message to Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, Abdul-Mahdi said he would resign if al-Sadr agreed with the leader of the Al-Fatah coalition Hadi al-Amiri – the two largest blocs in parliament — to form a new government.

The premier went on to warn against possible power vacuum if the current cabinet turned into a caretaker government.

On Monday, al-Sadr called for holding early elections as thousands of Iraqis continued protests against deep-seated corruption, high unemployment and lack of basic services.

More than 80 people have been killed and more than 3,600 others injured since a second wave of protests began in several Iraqi provinces on Friday, according to human rights groups.

The first wave of protests in early October left 149 protesters and eight security personnel dead.

Anger has been building in Iraq in recent years due to rising unemployment and rampant corruption. Many people in the country have limited access to basic services such as electricity and clean water. According to World Bank figures, Iraq’s youth unemployment is

around 25%. It is also ranked the 12th most-corrupt country in the world by several transparency organizations. 

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