Monday, February 28th 2011 2:26 PM

Baghdad, Feb. 28 (AKnews) - The leader of the Sadrist Current Muqtada al-Sadr criticized Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Monday for blaming the provincial administrations for the civil unrest that swept across the Iraqi provinces last week.

Hazem al-Araji, a Sadrist current leader, read Sadr’s statement during a press conference in Baghdad which declared that the Prime Minister is at the top of the pyramid in the Iraqi state and must bear full responsibility for its administrative failings.

“Everyone saw how the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak dismissed his ministers,” the statement reads in reference to Maliki’s request that certain governors step down following the public rallies.

Hundreds of thousands of protestors took to the streets on Friday in Baghdad and cities across Iraq demanding improved public services, effective implementation of the ration card system, an end to administrative corruption and improved employment opportunities.

Immediately after the nationwide protests, the governors of Basra and Babil provinces announced their resignations.

Maliki pointed out last week that the demonstrations were not anti-government or calling for changes in the political system, but demanding improved public services, thus pointing an accusatory finger at their local administrations.

The governor of Diyala province Abdul Nasser al-Mahdawi rejected the Prime Minister’s stance saying that many of the demands made by the protestors were beyond the powers of the local authorities.

The rallies in several cities became less peaceful, notably in Mosul where protestors set fire to the Nineveh provincial government headquarters and in Basra where the governorate was stormed. Violent clashes between security forces and the public were also reported in Baghdad, Kirkuk and Salahadin.

In a statement released yesterday, Maliki said he had given his cabinet a 100-day ultimatum to shape-up or “face changes”.

Reported by Raman Brosk

http://www.aknews.com/en/aknews/4/221707/