Iraq Electricity Problems Not to Be Solved before 2 Years: Al-Maliki addressed demonstrators who held bloody protests across the country that there was no quick fix to the countryâ€™s power supply problems.
Maliki said it would take another two years at least to bring new power plants on stream.
â€œFrankly nobody should expect that the electricity problems will be solved for another two years because the power stations being built by Siemens and GE will take two years to complete at least,â€ he said, referring to the German and US engineering giants.
With Iraqis receiving power for just one hour in five, or less, from the national grid, public anger has boiled over as temperatures in central and southern Iraq have hit highs of 54 degrees Celsius
On Monday, hundreds of angry demonstrators pelted stones at riot police guarding the Dhi Qar provincial government headquarters in the southern city of Nasiriyah, putting 17 of them in hospital, including a lieutenant colonel, a security official said.
On Saturday, police in the main southern city of Basra killed one demonstrator and wounded two when they opened fire on a frenzied crowd throwing stones at provincial government offices.
In an interview with AFP on Monday, Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari warned the Basra protest could be a harbinger of more trouble as prolonged â€œbickeringâ€ over who should be Iraqâ€™s next prime minister sparks mounting discontent among ordinary people more concerned by the lack of basic services.
What we saw in Basra on Saturday was a warning,â€ Zebari said. â€œIt was the writing on the wall. The anger they showed was extraordinary.â€