İrem UZUN -TDO- Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has said he will submit his resignation to the country's parliament after a day of intense bloodshed amid mass anti-government demonstrations.The announcement was met with celebrations among anti-government demonstrators who, for the past two months, have been protesting against corruption, rising youth unemployment levels and a lack of essential services such as electricity and water.
The unrest is Iraq’s biggest crisis in years. The government crackdown has seen at least 350 people killed and 15,000 injured since 1 October.Abdul Mahdi's decision, announced in a statement on Friday, came in response to a call for a change of leadership by Iraq's top Shia leader Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.Abdul Mahdi said he "listened with great concern" to al-Sistani's sermon and made his decision in response to his call and in order to "facilitate and hasten its fulfillment as soon as possible".
The announcement was met with cheers and blaring music across Baghdad's iconic Tahrir Square, where demonstrators have massed since early October against a ruling class deemed corrupt and in hock to foreign powers. One of the protestors said the resignation ‘should have come many weeks ago’.