Baghdad mayor resigns after protests

Baghdad`s mayor tendered his resignation after a series of protests in the Iraqi capital against poor public services and corruption.

Updated: Mar 03, 2011, 22:49 PM IST

Baghdad: Baghdad`s mayor tendered his
resignation on Thursday after a series of protests in the Iraqi
capital against poor public services and corruption.

Saber al-Essawi became the fourth senior Iraqi
official to step down since demonstrations erupted nationwide
a month ago.

"I present my resignation and I hope that a new
mayor will be chosen to complete the process of reconstruction
and development of the capital," he said in a statement.

Essawi, who has held his post for five years and is
a member of the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council, a religious
Shiite Muslim political party, did not offer any reason for
his decision in the statement.

The Iraqi premier always appoints Baghdad mayors
and Nuri al-Maliki will need now to find a replacement for
Essawi.

His resignation comes after 5,000 people took to
the streets of central Baghdad`s Tahrir Square on Friday to
rail against a lack of improvement in their lives, eight years
after the US-led invasion to oust Saddam Hussein.

The rally was one of 17 separate protests
nationwide on the day.

Clashes stemming from demonstrations across the
country in February left 22 protesters and one policeman dead,
with another major rally planned for tomorrow.

The protests have so far led to the resignations of
the governors of the southern provinces of Wasit, Basra and
Babil, all elected to their posts in January 2009 as members
of Maliki`s State of Law coalition.

Essawi last year launched a USD 425-million
programme to beautify the capital and notably to improve
Baghdad`s airport road, once the most dangerous thoroughfare
in the world.

PTI