RAMADI: Iraqi Finance Minister Rafa Al Essawi announced his resignation yesterday at an anti-government protest, ramping up a conflict between his secular Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc and the Shia premier.
State television quoted Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki’s office as saying the resignation of 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,” Essawi told thousands of demonstrators in Ramadi, west of Baghdad.
“We are with you, Essawi,” protesters chanted in response.
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.