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    Police prevent protesters from storming the provincial council building during a demonstration in Basra, Iraq, 340 miles (550 kilometers) southeast of Baghdad, on Sunday, July 15, 2018

    Electricity Minister Dismissed Amid Rallies Over Power Outages - Iraqi PM

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi has suspended Electricity Minister Qassim Fahdawi amid protests over the poor quality of public services, especially power outages, the prime minister's press service said.

    "Prime Minister Haider Abadi orders the suspension of the electricity minister amid the deterioration of electricity services and until an investigation is completed," the statement said.

    According to media reports, Abadi had previously ordered an internal probe into Fahdawi's role in the utility crisis.

    Protests in southern Iraq began on July 8 in the port city of Basra. The situation worsened after the death of one of the demonstrators protesting against chronic unemployment as well as electricity and water supply disruptions.

    Demonstrations later spread to other provinces in the south of the country — Maysan, Karbala, Najaf, Dhi Qar and Babil.

    READ MORE: Protesters in Iraq Attempt to Storm Basra Administration Building — Reports

    The government has set up a special commission to meet the protesters' demands, promising to allocate 3.5 trillion Iraqi dinars (around $3 billion) for the restoration of drinking water supply systems and electricity, in addition to 10,000 jobs.

    On Friday, Shiite spiritual leader Ali al-Sistani, who had earlier supported the protests, said that the country needed to hurry up with the formation of a new government and called on the authorities to fulfill the promises previously given to the protesters. Abadi has said he supports the call of the Shiite leader.


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    electricity, disruption, protests, Haider Abadi, Iraq
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