BAGHDAD - Iraq’s Prime Minister-designate Mohammed Allawi has withdrawn his candidacy for the post, accusing members of the country’s fractured parliament of standing in his way and prolonging a months-long political crisis.
Allawi’s move on Sunday came hours after legislators failed for the second time this week to approve his cabinet of independents amid political infighting in a country that has been rocked by months of anti-establishment protests that forced the resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi.
“I tried with all possible ways to save our country from sliding into the unknown and to solve the current problem. But during the negotiations, I ran into many things unrelated to the country’s interests,” Allawi said in a statement presented to President Barham Salih.
“Some sides negotiated with the mere aim of making gains without paying any attention to the national cause or heeding the blood of the martyrs who fell during protests seeking the change of conditions,” he added.
More than 500 people have been killed and 30,000 wounded since the mass protests seeking an overhaul of the country’s political system began in October in the capital, Baghdad, and several southern cities, with rights groups accusing security forces of using excessive force against demonstrators.
Allawi’s resignation a month after he was selected for the post - and two months after Abdul Mahdi, who remains a caretaker prime minister, stepped down - plunges the country into more uncertainty.
Salih will begin consultations to choose a new candidate for prime minister within 15 days.
But Iraq could end up without a prime minister in the meantime if Abdul Mahdi also quits on Monday. Late on Sunday, he issued a statement denying social media reports that he wanted to stay on, saying he would announce his intentions on Monday, which would have been the last day for Allawi to get his proposed cabinet approved
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