Iraq’s Nouri al-Maliki gives up post to rival
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Iraq’s Nouri al-Maliki gives up post to rival

Incumbent PM drops bid for third term, says decision based on desire to 'safeguard the high interests of the country'

Former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki speaks during Convergence of religions conference in Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, April 27, 2013 (photo credit: AP/Karim Kadim)
Former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki speaks during Convergence of religions conference in Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, April 27, 2013 (photo credit: AP/Karim Kadim)

BAGHDAD — Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq’s prime minister for the past eight years, says he is relinquishing the post to fellow Dawa Party member Haider al-Abadi.

“I announce before you today… the withdrawal of my candidacy in favor of the brother Doctor Haidar al-Abadi,” Maliki said.

Al-Maliki says his decision is based on his desire to “safeguard the high interests of the country,” adding that he will not be the cause of any bloodshed.

“I will stay a combat soldier to defend Iraq and its people,” he added in the televised address late Thursday, with al-Abadi standing by his side.

Iraq’s President Fouad Massoum named al-Abadi on Monday to form the next government, but al-Maliki had until now refused to step aside.

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