Iraq’s president calls for new election law; prime minister agrees to resign

Iraqi anti-government protesters climb on walls and barriers set by security forces Oct. 31 near Baghdad's Green Zone.
(Hadi Mizban / Associated Press)

Iraq’s president called for a new election law Thursday and said he would approve early elections once it is enacted, in response to anti-government protests.

President Barham Salih expressed support for the protesters in a prime-time address Thursday but said the sweeping changes they are calling for would need to be enacted through constitutional means. He says Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has expressed a willingness to resign once political leaders agree on a replacement.

Iraq has seen two waves of mass protests this month, with at least 250 protesters killed in clashes with security forces. The protesters have demanded the resignation of the government and the overhaul of the political system put in place after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.