Iraq's President Barham Salih Source: Al Araby

Iraq's President Barham Salih announced his resignation on Thursday after name of Iran-backed candidate for prime minister position was proposed. 

Salih, who assumed office as president on Oct. 2, 2018, confirmed he would rather step down than elect a PM protesters do not approve of. 

According to Reuters, the Bina bloc, led by Iran-backed militia leader Hadi al-Amiri, had nominated Basra Governor Asaad al-Edani to be the next prime minister.

"Out of my desire to stop blood and maintain peace, and with due respect to Asaad al-Edani, I refuse to nominate him," Salih said. "Therefore I put my willingness to resign the post of president to members of parliament so that they decide as representatives of the people what they see fit." 

The now-resigned Iraqi President has no constitutional right to reject any nominee for the PM position, and since protesters are demanding an independent prime minister to be elected, Salih announced his resignation. 

Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi resigned last month and remained in office in a caretaker capacity.

Iraq is witnessing its largest and deadliest anti-government protests in years. The mass demonstrations first erupted in the capital Baghdad on Oct. 1 and soon spread to other cities and towns. Protesters have been blocking major roads, calling for civil disobedience, and organizing strikes.

Iraqi demonstrators are protesting against the entire ruling class and demanding the end of the political system that has been in force since 2003. Iraqis are condemning corruption and calling for more employment opportunities and better public services. Leaders are widely accused of abusing public funds and enriching themselves as well as the country's elite while failing to provide their people with the most basic of services such as electricity, clean water, and proper infrastructure. 

Security personnel have been using excessive force and live ammunition in attempts to quell protests. At least 500 Iraqi protesters have been killed since people took to the streets in October.