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Iraqi prime minister resigns after two months of bloody protests

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi
Photo: Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi formally submitted his resignation on Saturday after two months of bloody protests killed over 350 Iraqis, AP reports.

Why it matters: Protesters have been calling for Mahdi to resign since the protests first started in early October over corruption, mass unemployment and failing public services. Mahdi's announcement comes after almost 50 people were killed on Thursday and Iraq's top Shia leader Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani called for a change in leadership, Al Jazeera reports.

  • Yes, but: Protesters told Al Jazeera that Mahdi's resignation is not enough, and they plan to continue protesting until all of their demands are met.

The big picture: Mahdi's resignation will leave a major hole in the government unless he is quickly replaced by somebody the people trust — even as the protest itself remains a largely leaderless movement.

  • The protesters want the entire political class, that's led the country since 2003, out of office, per AP.

Go deeper: Protests burning in Iraq and Lebanon could singe Iran