By Idris Okuyucu
ISTANBUL (AA) - Iraqi prime minister on Tuesday said all the demands of protesters seeking dissolution of the government was “legitimate”, but warned that ongoing grievance would grow further if the government steps down.
Following a meeting of ministers in the capital Baghdad, Adel Abdul-Mahdi delivered remarks on the ongoing anti-government protests that started at the beginning of October.
He said the dissolution of the government was not possible “without a quick and flexible alternative”.
"The resignation of the government may lead to further deepening of the problems in the country. Due to its limited authority, the interim government cannot approve the budget and realize the reforms demanded," the premier said.
However, he added that he was ready to leave his post should the political parties agreed on his replacement.
The prime minister went on to say that the protests across the country were peaceful and legitimate and demonstrators' demands would be responded in line with the law.
In addition, he said there were provocateurs clouding the protests by attacking private and public property.
Iraq has been rocked by a second wave of protests since Oct. 25 against deep-seated corruption, unemployment and lack of basic services. At least 260 people have been killed and 12,000 others injured since then, according to Iraq's High Commission for Human Rights.
Anger has been building in Iraq in recent years due to rising unemployment and rampant corruption. Many people in the country have limited access to basic services such as electricity and clean water.
According to World Bank figures, Iraq's youth unemployment is around 25%. It is also ranked the 12th most-corrupt country in the world by several transparency organizations.
*Writing by Ali Murat Alhas