CAIRO (Reuters) – Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi called on lawmakers on Thursday to support him to reshuffle cabinet posts and urged calm after three days of deadly civil unrest rocked the country.
Abdul Mahdi said there was no ‘magic solution’ to Iraq’s chronic governance problems and graft but pledged to try to pass a law granting poor families a basic income.
He gave his remarks in a televised speech as protesters demanded the fall of the government.
The prime minister said protesters’ calls to end corruption were “correct” but said the government must be helped to carry out its duties. Ministerial amendments must be approved by parliament.
Abdul Mahdi on Wednesday declared a curfew in Baghdad until further notice after at least seven people were killed and more than 400 were injured during two days of nationwide anti-government demonstrations.
Curfews were imposed earlier in three southern cities while elite counter-terrorism troops opened fire on protesters trying to storm Baghdad airport and deployed to the southern city of Nassiriya after gunfights broke out between protesters and security forces, police sources said.
Internet outages were reported across the country.
Any power vacuum in Iraq, should the government be toppled, could prove challenging for the region, given Baghdad’s status as an ally of both the United States and Iran, who are locked in a political standoff.
Reporting By John Davison and Ahmed Rasheed; Editing by Kim Coghill