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Iraqi MPs accept premier's resignation amid ongoing violence

Iraq’s parliament approved the resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi today, amid ongoing violence and anti-government demonstrations in the capital that saw one protestor shot dead.

Anti-government protestors gather during clashes with security forces in Baghdad, Iraq. Source: Associated Press

Protestors also continued to close roads, including those leading to a major commodities port, in mass demonstrations in southern Iraq.

Parliament enacted Abdul-Mahdi’s resignation without putting it to a vote, according to two lawmakers in attendance. Existing laws do not provide clear procedures for members of parliament to recognise the prime minister’s resignation. Lawmakers acted on the legal opinion of the federal supreme court for today’s session.

“According to the federal court’s interpretation there is no need to vote,” said lawmaker Sarkwat Shamsedine, during the session.

Lawmaker Mohamed al-Daraji said that parliament faced a “black hole in the constitution” that didn’t clearly set out how members of parliament should deal with a premier’s resignation.

Security and medical officials say one protestor was killed and ten wounded in Baghdad’s historic Rasheed Street, when security forces fired live ammunition to prevent crowds from breaching concrete barriers near the Ahrar bridge that leads to Iraq’s parliament and other government buildings. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity, in line with regulations.

Anti-government demonstrators, including students and teachers, also took to the streets in the southern oil-rich city of Basra. They donned black clothes to mourn protestors killed in Najaf and Dhi Qar provinces in recent days.

At least 400 people have been killed since October 1, when thousands took to the streets in mass protests in Baghdad and the predominantly Shiite south. Security forces have used live fire and tear gas to repel protestors creating heavy casualties.