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Heads of Parliamentary Blocs in Iraq Withdraw Support for PM

The leaders of Iraq’s two largest political alliances, who previously backed the premiership of Adel Abdul-Mahdi, have agreed to cooperate to remove him from office. This comes amid massive anti-government protests, particularly in the heavily Shi’ite southern part of the country, over economic hardships and perceptions of government corruption. At least 250 people have been killed since the unrest began on October 1. The leader of the largest parliamentary faction, Moqtada al-Sadr, had called on Abdul-Mahdi to resign. When the prime minister refused, Sadr turned to a political rival, Hadi al-Amiri, for help in ousting him. “We will work together to secure the interests of the Iraqi people and save the nation in accordance with the public good,” Amiri said in a statement late on Tuesday. Meanwhile, protests continued Wednesday for the sixth straight day in Baghdad’s central Tahrir Square, fueled by recent mass casualties among demonstrators in Karbala, as well as the prime minister’s refusal to step down or agree to early elections.