BAGHDAD (Dispatches) – The speaker of the Iraqi parliament, Mohamed al-Halbousi, appealed on Wednesday to President Barham Salih to nominate a new prime minister within 15 days.
"Based on Article 76 of the Constitution, I call [on the president] to appoint a candidate for the prime minister’s post within 15 days,” al-Halbousi said, as quoted by Al-Arabiya broadcaster.
According to the broadcaster, political circles have been pushing for the appointment of former Oil Minister Ibrahim Mohammad Bahr al-Ulloum.
On Tuesday, media reported that Salih had started the first round of consultations with the country’s political blocs to choose a new head of government after Adel Abdul Mahdi announced his resignation amid the ongoing unrest in the country.
The 77-year-old Iraqi politician had announced in a statement on Friday that he will submit his resignation to parliament amid anti-government demonstrations.
"I will submit to parliament an official memorandum resigning from the current prime ministry so that parliament can review its choices,” he said.
Earlier on Friday, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani had urged lawmakers to reconsider their support for the government.
"We call upon the House of Representatives from which this current government emerged to reconsider its options in that regard,” Ayatollah Sistani said in a statement read out by his representative Abdul Mahdi al-Karbalaei during a weekly sermon in the holy city of Karbala.
Abdul-Mahdi said he had "listened with great concern” to the sermon, and made his decision in response to the revered cleric’s call and in order to "facilitate and hasten its fulfillment as soon as possible.”
Nearly two months of protests have rocked primarily the capital city of Baghdad and southern areas of Iraq.
The protesters have expressed frustration with the failing economy and have demanded political and anti-corruption reforms.
The rallies have, however, turned into violent confrontations in numerous occasions, with reports alleging that certain foreign-backed elements have been seeking to wreak havoc in the country.