As anti-government protests continue across Baghdad and the southern provinces, a group of twelve political blocs in the Council of Representatives has proposed a number of reform proposals to the government.
Leaders from the main political blocs held a meeting overnight on Monday (November 18) to discuss the current situation.
More than 315 people have died in protests that began on October 1 and thousands have been wounded. Protesters initially wanted the government to do more to fight corruption, provide job opportunities, and improve public services, but their demands have evolved into calls for the resignation of the government and early elections.
The blocs who signed the statement include the Fateh Coalition, the Nasr Alliance, the State of Law Coalition, the National Force Coalition, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the Hikmah (Wisdom) Movement, the National Coalition, the Rescue and Development Front, the National Tender Bloc, the National Contract Bloc, and the Turkmen Front.
The group includes parties from both of parliament’s major groupings, Islah and al-Bina.
The political blocs threatened to bring down the government and hold early elections if the Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi’s cabinet failed to implement the proposals in short order, according to a statement released by the group.
The statement affirmed that government’s priority is to protect the lives of people and protesters, as well as the community, from civil war and that the security institutions should protect the country from chaos.
The political blocs also said those who had distorted the protests should be brought to justice.
The government and the Council of Representatives should continuously hold meetings to adopt laws for reform and the government should implement them in a short period of time, the statement continued.
“A court should be activated to investigate the current acts of looting,” the statement said.
“All the political parties should stay away from all kinds of interventions in the work of the government and ministries.”
Weeks ago, the protesters called for the government to resign and for new elections after an anemic policy response from the government and parliament.
While the statement is unique in the breadth of parties that signed on, it is likely to be seen as carrying little substance. For many protesters, the party elites behind the statement are the embodiment of the structure that they want to sweep away.
More than 315 people have been killed since the start of mass unrest in Baghdad and southern Iraq in early October, the largest demonstrations since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, according to Reuters.
The unrest has shattered the relative calm that followed the defeat of Islamic State in 2017.