Iraqi PM vows reforms to calm angry protests

Iraqi PM vows reforms to calm angry protests

Baghdad - The United Nations on Saturday urged an end to the violence, after five days of protests calling for the government to resign.



By AFP

Published: Mon 7 Oct 2019, 11:52 PM

The Iraqi government announced a series of reforms early on Sunday after an "extraordinary" session overnight in response to sweeping anti-government rallies that have left 112 dead in less than a week.
The United Nations on Saturday urged an end to the violence, after five days of protests calling for the government to resign.
Confronted by its biggest challenge since coming to power just under a year ago, Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi's cabinet issued a decree including 17 planned reforms, such as land distributions and increased welfare stipends for needy families.
The decree ordered construction of 100,000 new housing units. In September, local authorities launched demolitions of houses in informal settlements, home to three million Iraqis across the country.
In response to staggering youth unemployment, which has reached around 25 per cent according to the World Bank, the government said it would create large market complexes and boost benefits for those without work.
The public sector remains the largest employer in Iraq, a country of 40 million people, but it has struggled to absorb new university graduates in recent years.
In the southern city of Kut last month, a young Iraqi man died after he set himself alight in despair after authorities seized his mobile kiosk. The government has officially designated those killed as "martyrs", granting their families a special set of benefits.


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