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Outgoing Iraqi PM warns he will walk away if successor's government is not approved soon

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi speaks during extraordinary cabinet meeting after he handed his resignation letter to the parliament, in Baghdad, Iraq on 30 November 2019. [Prime Ministry of Iraq / Handout - Anadolu Agency]
FORMER Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi speaks during extraordinary cabinet meeting after he handed his resignation letter to the parliament, in Baghdad, Iraq on 30 November 2019. [Prime Ministry of Iraq / Handout - Anadolu Agency]

Iraq’s outgoing prime minister urged political leaders on Wednesday to quickly approve his designated successor’s cabinet and warned he would walk away from his caretaker post if they do not do so by March 2, according to a report by Reuters.

Facing a wave of protests and civil unrest that has claimed the life of almost 500 people since October 1, Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi quit in November. He has stayed on as a caretaker, but says now he’s ready to leave, which would create an unprecedented political vacuum at the top of the government.

“It would not be correct or appropriate for me to remain in power after March 2, and I will have no recourse but to implement the text of the constitution and the cabinet’s internal bylaws,” said Abdul Mahdi, who has already stopped chairing weekly cabinet meetings.

It took Iraq’s political leadership until February 1 to agree on Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi to replace Abdul Mahdi, missing a constitutional deadline to appoint one within 15 days of his resignation.

Barzani: ‘All parties must be represented in new Iraqi government’

Allawi now takes over a government tasked with organising early elections. The constitution gives him 30 days – until March 2 – to present a cabinet to parliament for approval.

He has made little progress as rival political factions squabble over ministerial portfolios. But on Saturday he said he would form a government within the coming week.

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