The president entrusted the task to Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi, a Shiite and former telecommunications minister. In the first intervention, he promised to satisfy citizens' requests. Al-Sadr orders loyalists to demobilize. The majority of the population reject the choice as "part of the political game that destroyed Iraq".
Baghdad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Iraq has a new Prime Minister, after more than four months of street protests against corruption and economic crisis which have resulted in more than 500 deaths.
Over the weekend, President Barham Salih appointed former telecommunications minister Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi to lead the government.
His predecessor Adel Abdul Mahdi had resigned in November, but not even this had allayed popular discontent.
Now the newly appointed prime minister Allawi - a Shiite, with studies in Lebanon and the United Kingdom behind him before entering politics in 2003, after the US invasion of Iraq - has a month to form a new executive, who will have to lead the Country to new elections.
Ahead of his appointment, he expressed his support for the popular protests and assured that he wanted to satisfy their legitimate demands.
In the early days of last week, President Saleh had imposed an ultimatum on Parliament, after which he would have decided himself the name to entrust the leadership of the executive. In recent months, several names and candidates have emerged, none of which have met with the protesters approval.
In a video released on social media, the appointed Prime Minister addressed the Iraqis, inviting them to continue in the protest until their demands are met. "If it had not been for your sacrifice and your courage - Allawi stressed - there would have been no changes in the country". "I believe in you - he added - for this I ask you to continue in the protest". He concluded by promising to bring those who spilled their fellow citizens' blood to justice and to fight corruption across the board.
Among the first reactions to the appointment of Allawi was that of radical Shiite radical Moqtada al-Sadr, who has invited his supporters to clear the streets and return to everyday life. He called for collaboration to ensure the reopening and normal operation of schools, offices and commercial activities.
However, protesters have already rejected the president's choice with new demonstrations in Baghdad and in several southern Shiite-majority cities. Yesterday thousands of people gathered in Tahrir square, in the heart of the capital, a symbol of the protests, chanting slogans and songs including "Not to Allawi and the parties that support him". A group of people waved flags of the United Nations and the European Union calling for "support and protection for Iraqi protesters". "Allawi - they shouted - is a member of the political game that destroyed Iraq, he must leave."