Baghdad - Iraq’s Prime Minister Haidar Al Abadi says he will not “cling to power,” after Iraq’s highest Shiite religious authority called for the appointment of a new head of government.

Al Abadi’s political standing has crumbled in the wake of rioting in Iraq’s oil capital, Basra, over corruption, failed services and contaminated drinking water.

Al Abadi, who was backed by the US for a second term in office, said he would respect the directives of Grand Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani, who said it was time for Iraq to appoint a prime minister it has never had before. Al Abadi made his remarks at his weekly press conference on Thursday.