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Iraqi prime minister says he will resign - statement

Iraqi prime minister says he will resign - statement
FILE PHOTO: A still image taken from a video shows Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi delivering a speech on reforms ahead of planned protest, in Baghdad, Iraq October 25, 2019. IRAQIYA TV via REUTERS TV -
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BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said on Friday he would offer his resignation to parliament to allow lawmakers to choose a new government, in a move that follows weeks of violent anti-government protests.

Abdul Mahdi’s decision came in response to a call for a change of leadership on Friday by Iraq’s top Shi’ite Muslim cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, his office said in a statement.

“In response to this call, and in order to facilitate it as quickly as possible, I will present to parliament a demand (to accept) my resignation from the leadership of the current government,” said the statement, signed by Abdul Mahdi.

The statement did not specify when he would tender his resignation. Parliament is due to convene on Sunday.

The announcement came after weeks of anti-government unrest in which security forces have killed around 400 mostly peaceful demonstrators and the country has careered towards a serious escalation of violence.

(Reporting by John Davison; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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