Iraqi premier rejects resignation of seven ministers amid violent protests

Anti-government protesters set fires and close a street during a demonstration in Baghdad CREDIT: AP

Baghdad ( – Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi was said to have rejected the resignation of seven ministers to prevent the collapse of his government as the country witnesses deadly protests over corruption and poor public services.

A political source told Iraq’s Algahd Press website on Sunday that “several political blocs pressurize Abdul Mahdi to force him to carry out a cabinet reshuffle or render his resignation.”

The source did not clarify the names of ministers, who offered their resignation.

The move comes a day after Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said new elections should be held soon to put an end to deadly protests, which entered their sixth day, leaving scores dead and thousands wounded.

“Respect the blood of Iraq through the resignation of the government and prepare for early elections overseen by international monitors,” a statement from his office said.

An Iraqi human rights commission said on Saturday that the death toll from four days of anti-government protests in Baghdad and other Iraqi provinces rose to 93, while nearly 4,000 others were injured.

The Independent High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR), which is linked to the Iraqi parliament, said in a statement that its teams registered the death of 93 people till Saturday noon (12:00 pm).

Of all 567 arrested protesters, 355 have been released, while the others remained in detention centers, the commission said.

Violent protests have erupted in Baghdad and other southern provinces since Tuesday, with demonstrators railing against state corruption, poor public services and unemployment, and demanding the fall of the regime.

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