Masum meets political leaders over mass protests, new govt

Iraqi President Fuad Masum. File photo

Baghdad ( – Iraqi President Fuad Masum held on Wednesday a meeting with a host of political leaders to discuss the latest developments in the country, atop of which are the mass demonstrations that have swept through several southern provinces for over a week.

Although the Iraqi presidency announced in an earlier statement that all political leaders were invited for the meeting, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi did not attend for an unknown reason.

The talks will focus on the recent protesters across Iraq’s southern provinces as well as the formation of the new government.

Iraq was on the verge of forming a coalition government following the May 12 parliamentary election, which was marred by allegations of fraud.

Mass demonstrations against unemployment, corruption and poor services spread further across southern Iraqi provinces, prompting Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to rush from a NATO summit in Brussels to Basra to meet with local officials and tribal leaders in a bid to restore calm.

The demonstrations started last week in Basra province, but they later extended to other cities, including Amara, Nasiriya, Karbala and the Shiite holy city of Najaf. There were also protests in parts of the capital, Baghdad.

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