One of Iraq’s deputy presidents has stepped down, a top Shia leader said on Monday, a sign of divisions in the coalition government.
Adel Abdul Mahdi’s resignation came as Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki fended off critics who say he has not delivered on power-sharing promises since forming a fragile multi-sectarian government in December.
Ammar Al Hakim, the leader of the Iranian-backed Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (ISCI), said Abdul Mahdi, a top politician in ISCI, had presented his resignation but it had yet to be approved by President Jalal Talabani. “We were supposed to present this resignation before, but the president was abroad, so once he came back the resignation was submitted to him,” Hakim said.
Abdul-Mahdi, a Shia, was one of three deputies appointed by parliament this month to the government led by Maliki.
Hakim said he hoped the resignation would prompt others to follow suit to reduce the size of the government. Abdul-Mahdi’s departure is unlikely to pressure the coalition, which still has the backing of most other Shia blocs in the government, including the powerful Sadrist bloc with 39 seats in parliament.