Iraq’s finance minister resigns, upping pressure
RAMADI - Agence France-PresseIraqi Finance Minister Rafa al-Essawi announced his resignation on March 1 at an anti-government protest, ramping up a conflict between his secular Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc and the Shiite premier.
State television quoted Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s office as saying the resignation of al-Essawi, a leading Sunni and Iraqiya member, would not be accepted until an investigation into “his financial and administrative violations” was complete.
“I am with you, I am your son, and I announce today... that I am presenting my resignation from the Iraqi government, and I will not return to this government,” al-Essawi told thousands of demonstrators in Ramadi, west of Baghdad.
Al-Maliki is at loggerheads with Iraqiya, which is a part of his national unity government, over its accusations of authoritarianism and sectarianism in the run-up to key provincial polls scheduled to be held next month. Protests have been staged in Sunni-majority areas of Iraq for weeks, calling for al-Maliki’s resignation.