Iraqi parliament approves PM’s resignation amid ongoing violence
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Iraqi parliament approves PM’s resignation amid ongoing violence

Lawmakers said to enact Abdul-Mahdi’s resignation without vote; police officer gets death penalty for killing demonstrators; at least 400 people killed in protests since October 1

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi during a joint news conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Ankara, Turkey, May 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi during a joint news conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Ankara, Turkey, May 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

Iraq’s parliament approved the resignation of Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi on Sunday, amid ongoing violence and anti-government demonstrations in the capital that saw a protester shot dead.

Protesters 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 recognize the prime minister’s resignation. Lawmakers acted on the legal opinion of the federal supreme court for Sunday’s session.

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

Protesters prepare to throw stones during clashes between Iraqi security forces and anti-government protesters, in Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

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 protester was killed and ten were 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 early morning Sunday. They donned black clothes to mourn protesters 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 protesters creating heavy casualties.

Iraqi anti-government protesters burn an Iranian flag during protests in Baghdad, Iraq, November 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

An Iraqi court sentenced a police officer to death on Sunday after convicting him of killing demonstrators, in the first such sentence in two months of deadly civil unrest.

The Kut criminal court sentenced the police major to be hanged and jailed a police lieutenant colonel for seven years for their roles in the deaths of seven protesters in the southern city on November 2, judicial sources said.

Anti-government protesters burned down the Iranian consulate building in the southern Iraqi holy city of Najaf last Wednesday, removing the Iranian flag from the building and replaced it with an Iraqi one.

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