Middle East

Iraq protests: Mohammed Allawi named prime minister

President Barham Salih (R) instructs new Prime Minister Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi Image copyright Reuters
Image caption President Barham Salih (R) instructs new Prime Minister Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi

Iraq has named a new prime minister after four months of protests.

Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi, a former communications minister, was appointed by President Barham Salih.

His predecessor Adel Abdul Mahdi resigned in November, amid mass anti-government demonstrations. Hundreds of protesters have been killed.

Mr Allawi now has a month to form a new government, which he will lead until early elections. He immediately expressed support for the protests.

Earlier this week, local media reported that President Saleh had given parliament an ultimatum to decide on a new prime minister before he took the decision himself, after previous candidates were rejected by protesters.

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Media captionWatch as protesters block roads in the city of Najaf

In a video released on his social media accounts on Saturday, Mr Allawi announced that he had been nominated and called on Iraqis to continue protesting until their demands were met.

"If not for your sacrifices and your bravery, there would have been no change in the country," he said. "I believe in you, and for this reason I will ask you to continue protesting."

He promised to hold those responsible for the killing of protesters accountable and to combat corruption.

Mr Allawi, who is Shia, studied and worked in Lebanon and the UK before entering Iraqi politics following the 2003 invasion. He served as minister of communications twice.

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Media captionThe BBC's Jeremy Bowen asks why people have been taking to the streets in Lebanon, Iran and Iraq

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