Iraqi outgoing PM vows not to cling to power

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi delivers a speech during the opening session of New Iraqi parliament at the Parliament Building on Sept. 3 2018 in Baghdad Iraq

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi delivers a speech during the opening session of New Iraqi parliament at the Parliament Building on Sept. 3 2018 in Baghdad Iraq

Abadi said the government had chose to increase the salaries of fighters' in the powerful pro-Tehran Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitary force, and make wages "equal to that of the armed forces".

The outrage is primarily focused on high levels of corruption and Iraq's political deadlock, which the public blames for a lack of basic services.

This is bad news for Iraqi PM Hayder Abadi, who despite having formed a coalition deal with Sadr, is seen as far too weak to be seriously considered for another term as premier. I don't cling to a second term. Abadi's bloc came in third with 42 seats.

"We are not going to hold on to power", Abadi announced on Thursday night, Iraqi media reported.

Some delegates from Iraq's Sairoon Alliance, led by Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr, and the Kurdistan Democratic Party had withdrawn from the session, according to an Al Arabiya News Channel correspondent.

As Iraq moves closer to forming a new government, the incumbent Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says he is not seeking to serve a second term in office.

In what appeared to be a head nod on Thursday to the powerful Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitary force, Abadi said the government had made a decision to increase its fighters' salaries and make them "equal to that of the armed forces".

Calls for Abadi and other government leaders to resign have intensified after an outbreak of deadly unrest in the southern port city of Basra, where at least 12 protesters were killed in antigovernment demonstrations.

Sistani, the country's most senior Shia cleric, had said earlier in the week that he would not support either Abadi or his predecessor Nouri al-Maliki for the post.