Iraq’s Basra MPs suspend membership amid plans of renewed protests

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Political and civil authorities in Iraq’s oil-rich region of Basra revealed that activists are planning demonstrations again, in light of the suspension of parliamentary membership of a number of their lawmakers .

Activists who are widely circulating their plans for demonstrations on social media, expressed their resentment of the new cabinet’s stance toward their southern region which is unrepresented in the government of Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi.

The activists are demanding jobs which were supposed to have been provided more than a month ago, in addition to protesting against the shortage of safe drinking-water.

A number of MPs in Basra have already confirmed that they will be supporting these protests which will be staged in the coming few days.

In this context, four MPs suspended their parliamentary membership because the new cabinet did not include the two candidates from Basra. The arliament member said: “Basra should be represented in the Council of Ministers, and it is unreasonable to exclude the province, which is considered the economic capital of Iraq and has the first credit in providing Iraq’s financial and oil imports, as well as being the only maritime port of Iraq.”

The deputies warned that the public are increasingly convinced that the government is treating them as second class citizens and subjecting them to deliberate marginalization, saying that any moment the street will revolt against this new government, the same way it revolted against the former government of Haidar al-Abadi.

Basra has 25 seats in the Iraqi parliament out of 329 seats, while it is considered the second-largest city in Iraq in area after Anbar province, west of the country.

It is worth mentioning that Iraq exports about 80 percent of its oil through Basra fields.

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