Iraq’s embattled Prime Minister announced Friday he would resign in keeping with the wishes of the country’s top cleric, as renewed violence added to a soaring death toll in two months of anti-government protests.

A written statement issued by the pm office said statement said Adel Abdul Mahdi would present his resignation to parliament so lawmakers could select a new government.

It came after grand ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani called for a new government.

The Premier’s announcement case after more than 40 people were killed on the bloodiest day since anti-government protests began.

About 400 people have been killed in protests since the start of October, and at least 15 died on Friday.

Iraq’s top Shia cleric ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani condemned the use of force against protesters and called for a new government.

Iraqis are demanding jobs, an end to corruption and better public services.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he was “deeply concerned over reports of the continued use of live ammunition against demonstrators” and called for “maximum restraint”.