November 29, 2019 / 2:35 PM / 7 days ago

Iraqi prime minister says he will resign: statement

FILE PHOTO: Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi speaks during a symbolic funeral ceremony of Major General Ali al-Lami, who commands the Iraqi Federal Police's Fourth Division, who was killed in Salahuddin, in Baghdad, Iraq October 23, 2019. REUTERS/Khalid al-Mousily

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said on Friday he would offer his resignation to parliament to allow lawmakers to choose a new government, in a move that follows weeks of violent anti-government protests.

Abdul Mahdi’s decision came in response to a call for a change of leadership on Friday by Iraq’s top Shi’ite Muslim cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, his office said in a statement.

“In response to this call, and in order to facilitate it as quickly as possible, I will present to parliament a demand (to accept) my resignation from the leadership of the current government,” said the statement, signed by Abdul Mahdi.

The statement did not specify when he would tender his resignation. Parliament is due to convene on Sunday.

The announcement came after weeks of anti-government unrest in which security forces have killed around 400 mostly peaceful demonstrators and the country has careered towards a serious escalation of violence.

Reporting by John Davison; Editing by Gareth Jones

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