Bagdad - Parliament speaker Osama al-Nujaifi called on
Monday for the cabinet to resign and for early elections to be held, as a
seven-day wave of violence killed more than 230 people in Iraq.
The initiative is aimed at "national reconciliation
and maintaining the gains of democracy", as well as "sparing the
country from the spectre of civil war and sectarian strife", Nujaifi's
office said in a statement.
Nujaifi, a Sunni and leading member of the secular,
Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc that has long been at odds with Shi’ite Prime
Minister Nuri al-Maliki, addressed the proposal to the heads of political
parties represented in parliament.
He called for the current government to resign and be
replaced by a smaller one made up of independent members, who cannot stand in
the next elections, for the electoral commission to prepare for early polls and
for parliament to then be dissolved.
Nujaifi's proposal came during a wave of violence that
began on 22 April when security forces moved against Sunni anti-government
protesters near the northern Sunni Arab town of Hawijah, sparking clashes that
killed 53 people.
Subsequent unrest has killed dozens more and brought the
seven-day death toll to more than 230 on Monday, raising fears of a return to
all-out sectarian conflict.
So far this month, more than 450 people have been killed
and over 1 150 wounded in violence across Iraq, according to AFP figures based
on security and medical sources.