Abadi to be next Iraq PM; Maliki refuses to back down

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ABADI new PM iraqBaghdad: Iraqi President Fuad Masoum asked Deputy Speaker Haidar al-Abadi to form the next government but the politicians allied to outgoing Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki rejected the premier-designate, raising concerns about a political struggle in the country facing insurgency from Sunni jihadists.

The state-run Iraqiya channel showed Masoum signing a letter granting power to form the next government to Abadi, the Shia coalition’s nominee for prime minister, Xinhua reported.

Salim al-Jubouri, the Iraqi speaker of parliament, and Ibrahim al-Jaafari, the head of the Iraqi National Alliance, were present at the televised meeting.

“The country is now in your hands,” Massoum told Abadi.

The deputy speaker thanked Masoum and pledged to do his best to form a government within a month, a time span stipulated in the constitution.

Earlier, Shia lawmakers in the umbrella organisation the Iraqi National Alliance, which includes Maliki’s State of the Law bloc, sent a letter signed by 127 lawmakers, out of more than 170 members in the alliance, to President Masoum, nominating Abadi for the post to replace Maliki, according to Baghdad satellite channel.

However, the politicians allied to Maliki rejected the new prime minister, saying he is not representing them and has no legitimacy.