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2 Mar, 2020 19:25

Iraq’s acting PM steps aside after designated successor quits

Iraq’s acting PM steps aside after designated successor quits

The acting prime minister of Iraq said on Monday he was standing down from most of his duties and called for early elections.

Caretaker PM Adel Abdul Mahdi’s statement came one day after the man who had been designated to become premier, Mohammed Allawi, withdrew his candidacy. Allawi accused political parties of obstructing him.

The development deepened a power vacuum and further complicated Iraq’s faltering efforts to deal with mass unrest, a reawakening Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and a spreading coronavirus infection, Reuters said.

Demonstrators began protests on October 1, demanding the removal of all politicians, free elections, and an end to economic mismanagement. Nearly 500 people have been killed in the unrest, with both security forces and unidentified gunmen shooting people dead. Abdul Mahdi was pushed out by protests but had stayed on temporarily.