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Iraq: New Prime Minister selected, but is rejected by protestors

Iraq's former communications minister Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi speaks after being assigned by Iraq's president Barham Salih to form a new government, in Baghdad, Iraq on February 1, 2020 [IRAQI PRESIDENCY PRESS OFFICE / HANDOUT - Anadolu Agency]
Iraq's former communications minister Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi speaks after being assigned by Iraq's president Barham Salih to form a new government, in Baghdad, Iraq on February 1, 2020 [IRAQI PRESIDENCY PRESS OFFICE / HANDOUT - Anadolu Agency]

Iraq’s President Barham Salih, on Saturday, assigned the country’s former communications minister to form a new government.

Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi announced President Barham Salih’s mandate to form the new government on Twitter.

The new Prime Minister appealed to downtrodden Iraqis for their support on Saturday hours after his appointment by President Barham Salih, but protesters were already rejecting the head of government as a stooge of the political elite.

Speaking on public television, Allawi said that he would establish a government free from sectarianism and political factionalism. Saying that demonstrations in the country should continue, Allawi promised that those who attack protesters and security forces will be caught and punished.

He said that a direct dialogue channel will be opened up with demonstrators, adding that he will lead the country to early elections and will combat the corruption in state institutions.

Iraqi people stage a protest against former communications minister Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi after Iraqi President Barham Salih has assigned Allawi to form new government, in Iraqi capital Baghdad on February 2, 2020 [Murtadha Al-Sudani / Anadolu Agency]

Iraqi people stage a protest against former communications minister Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi after Iraqi President Barham Salih has assigned Allawi to form new government, in Iraqi capital Baghdad on February 2, 2020 [Murtadha Al-Sudani / Anadolu Agency]

In Baghdad and southern cities, demonstrators who have camped out for months demanding the removal of Iraq’s ruling class – and had succeeded in toppling the outgoing prime minister – chanted “we reject Allawi” and held posters of his face with a red cross through it.

Iraq: Assassinating the press and the game of recycling politicians

The protesters, who want a technocrat government not affiliated with political parties to be formed in the country, have called Allawi a candidate of “political parties.”

Iraqi President Salih appointed Allawi after squabbling lawmakers from rival parties had failed for two months to decide on a successor to Adel Abdul Mahdi, who resigned in November during mass unrest. Allawi must now establish a government within a month, according to the Iraqi constitution.

Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi, born in Baghdad, was elected a deputy after 2003. He had served as the minister of communication for two terms under former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Iraq has been roiled by mass protests since early October over poor living conditions and corruption, forcing Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi to resign November 29. His resignation was accepted December 1.

More than 500 people have been killed and 17,000 injured in protests, according to Iraq’s commission.

UN: 467 Iraqi protestors have been killed since October

Iraqi people stage a protest against former communications minister Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi after Iraqi President Barham Salih has assigned Allawi to form new government, in Iraqi capital Baghdad on February 2, 2020 [Murtadha Al-Sudani / Anadolu Agency]

Iraqi people stage a protest against former communications minister Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi after Iraqi President Barham Salih has assigned Allawi to form new government, in Iraqi capital Baghdad on February 2, 2020 [Murtadha Al-Sudani / Anadolu Agency]

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