Four Iraqi parliamentarians have resigned in anger at the government's perceived failure to respond to mass protests, piling more pressure on embattled Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi. Rallies demanding an overhaul of the ruling regime have rocked Iraq this month, defying live rounds, tear gas and other violence that have left more than 200 dead.
Parliament's only two Communist lawmakers, Raed Fahmy and Haifa al-Amin, quit the body "in support of the peaceful, popular movement," they said in a statement. "We are resigning because of the protests and the way they were repressed," Fahmy told AFP.
"In 27 days, parliament has done nothing: it could not hold the prime minister nor the interior minister accountable" for reported violations by security forces, he said. Their statement called on the government to resign and for early elections under a new voting system. Two other lawmakers, Taha al-Difai and Muzahem al-Tamimi, also resigned on Sunday.
Both belong to the list of former premier Haider al-Abadi. The 329-seat parliament has been in crisis since the protests began on October 1. Multiple sessions -- including one on Saturday -- have been cancelled after failing to reach quorum.
The assembly met once in mid-October to appoint two ministers, a cabinet change which appears to have fallen short of protesters' demands for wholesale change. The Iraqi Communist Party had allied with firebrand cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in the 2018 elections to form Saeroon, which boasted the largest bloc in parliament.
Sadr, too, has called on the government to resign and for early elections supervised by the United Nations. Saeroon on Saturday announced an open-ended sit-in to show support for protests.