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Iraqi Lawmakers – but Not Protesters – Okay Salih’s Choice for PM

Parliamentarians in Iraq have accepted President Barham Salih’s choice of former communications minister Mohammed Allawi as prime minister-designate. Salih announced his choice on Saturday, having followed through on a threat of unilateral action by February 1 if lawmakers were unable to agree on a consensus choice of their own. Adel Abdel-Mahdi resigned as prime minister in November due to ongoing, violent anti-government protests, and has remained caretaker prime minister ever since. Protesters, meanwhile, have made it known that Allawi is unacceptable to them, being seen as a member of the ruling elite that demonstrators have been seeking to oust in its entirety. In Tahrir Square, a primary site of the protests that began on October 1 and so far have claimed close to 500 lives, demonstrators erected posters with Allawi’s likeness and a giant X across his face. The PM-designate has one month to establish a cabinet, which will execute policy until new parliamentary elections are held.