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Iraqi protesters reject new PM-designate

EPA-EFE/MURTAJA LATEEF
Demonstrators take part in an anti-government protest in Baghdad, Iraq, 07 November 2019. Thousands of people have taken to the streets in Iraq since last month to demand change to the political system and to protest against corruption, unemployment and inadequate basic services.

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After two months of political stalemate, Iraqi former communications minister Mohammed Allawi was named prime minister-designate by the country’s president Barham Salih. Allawi, 66, is selected to replace outgoing PM Adel Abdul Mahdi, who resigned in November amid anti-government protests.
Hundreds of students have marched in cities across Iraq to reject Allawi’s nomination. Protesters accuse him of belonging to the country’s post-2003 political establishment that has failed them. They demand new executive leadership, snap elections and electoral reforms.
Since last year, Iraq has been torn by nationwide anti-government protests, which resulted in violent clashes between protesters and security forces. At least 500 people have been killed in the crackdown. Only few have been held accountable for the bloodshed.
Allawi promised to create jobs, fight corruption, and to form a government free of sectarianism and factionalism: “This commission is a great historical responsibility. So I pledge to God and to the Iraqi people that I will do my best to serve this country”, he said.
“We are here to reject the new prime minister because he has a well-known history within the political class”, a protester said.
Another protester said that Allawi’s nomination represents “a total disregard for those killed in the protests and for the demands of the Iraqi people who have been demonstrating for four months to reject parties affiliated with Iran”.

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