BAGHDAD (Dispatches) – Iraq’s parliament has voted to accept the resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, following weeks of anti-government protests.
Abdul Mahdi’s decision to quit on Friday came after a call by Iraq’s top Shia Muslim cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani for parliament to consider withdrawing its support for Abdul Mahdi’s government to stem the violence.
"The Iraqi parliament will ask the president of state to nominate a new prime minister,” a statement from parliament’s media office said.
Lawmakers said Abdul Mahdi’s government, including the prime minister himself, would stay on in a caretaker capacity following Sunday’s vote until a new government was chosen.
Under the constitution, President Barham Salih is expected to ask the largest bloc in parliament to nominate a new prime minister to form a government, a move expected to trigger weeks of political wrangling.
Nearly two months of protests have rocked primarily Baghdad and the southern areas of Iraq. The protesters have been expressing frustration with a failing economy and have demanded reforms.
The rallies have, however, turned into violent confrontations on numerous occasions.
Since October 1, more than 300 people have been killed in the country, according to the Iraqi parliament’s human rights commission.
Analysts say the United States and its key allies in the Middle East are trying to find a way to "hijack" protests in Iraq in an attempt to influence its foreign policy.
Washington does not like Iraq's current role in the regional "resistance axis" that is countering the Zionist regime and Saudi aggression, Keith Preston, director of attackthesystem.com, told Press TV.
"I think much of the difficulty that Iraq is experiencing today is largely rooted in the policies that the United States has pursued towards Iraq for quite some time," he said.
"We'd have to consider the lasting impact of not only the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the destabilization of Iraq that happened as a result," but the fact that the U.S. also propped up the regime of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussain, Preston added.
America's support for Takfiri groups that first overtook parts of Syria and then proceeded to override neighboring Iraq is also a reason for current problems, said Preston.