Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi announced Friday, in response to ongoing protests throughout the country, that demands for the resignation of his government require a transition period which should be “smooth and quick.”“There are legitimate demands for the resignation of the government, but this cannot be achieved without a smooth and swift alternative,” Mahdi added during a cabinet meeting with senior officials. The sudden resignation of his government would leave “a gap in the country that will deepen the national problems,” he noted. The PM further claimed that “[he’s] ready to hand power and leave office immediately if political forces agree on an alternative.”More than 280 people have been killed since the protests began in Baghdad on October 1 and quickly spread to the country's southern provinces. Security forces have continued to use live fire against demonstrators, in addition to non-lethal crowd dispersal methods, including tear gas canisters and stun grenades, often fired directly at protesters. The protests are largely seen as being due to deteriorating economic conditions and issues of state corruption.