Iraq - Head of Government admits mistakes in the face of mass protests In Baghdad, the protests critical of the government continue. Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi approached the demonstrators and promised electoral reform. © Photo: Reuters / Ahmed Jadallah
In the course of the mass protests in Iraq, Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi made concessions to the government-critical demonstrators. He acknowledged mistakes and promised electoral reform. "Political forces and parties are important institutions in any democratic system, they have made many sacrifices, but they have also made many mistakes," said Abdul Mahdi. He did not comment on the electoral reform. She should be announced in the coming days.
Leading political forces in the country backed Abdel Mahdi. After days of talks, the fractious political forces agreed to support the head of government. Previously, the commander of the Iranian al-Kuds forces, Kassem Soleimani, in talks in Najaf gained two important supporters for the Mahdi government, it was informed. These are the populist preacher and politician Moktada al-Sadr and the son of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Mohammed Reda Sitan.
Thereupon the political forces agreed that reforms were necessary. These will be discussed on Saturday evening in the Iraqi parliament.
Losses on the part of the protesters
At least seven demonstrators were killed in clashes with security forces in the mass protests. Four protesters died in the capital Baghdad on Saturday and three demonstrators were killed in southern Basra.
Using tear gas, security forces in Baghdad urged demonstrators from several occupied bridges. Government offices and foreign embassies have their headquarters there. One of the bridges, the Al-Sinek Bridge, has been the main link between the protesters and the embassy of Iran. Parts of the protest movement accuse the neighboring country of supporting the government in Baghdad, to which they accuse corruption. The bridges Al-Ahrar and Al-Schuhada lead to the office of the Prime Minister and the headquarters of the state television.
Violent clashes between demonstrators and security forces also took place in the south of the country. In Karbala and Basra, the protest camps were partly dissolved with tear gas. According to doctors, numerous people were injured.
Hundreds of deaths since the beginning of October
In early October, a protest movement against the government had formed in Baghdad and several southern Iraqi cities. The demonstrators criticize high unemployment, poor infrastructure, poor public services and recurrent power outages. They also accuse the government of wasting and corrupting the oil wealth of the country. In addition, they demand the reorganization of the political system that had been introduced after the 2003 US-led invasion.
Despite escalations of violence and nocturnal curfews, Iraqis continue to go to the protests. According to the AFP news agency, almost 300 people have been killed since 1 October. The government has recently published no more figures on deaths.