Iraq`s Nuri al-Maliki steps down as Iraqi PM, backs Haider al-Abadi
Baghdad: Facing enormous pressure at home and abroad to step aside, Nuri al-Maliki dropped his bid for a third term as prime minister of Iraq on Thursday night and pledged support for his replacement, moderate Shia Haider al-Abadi.
Appearing on state television flanked by Abadi and other Shias politicians, Maliki spoke of the grave "terrorist" threat from Islamic State Sunni militants before giving up on his fight to stay on.
"I announce before you today, to ease the movement of the political process and the formation of the new government, the withdrawal of my candidacy in favour of brother Dr Haider al-Abadi," said Maliki.
Abadi is seen as a far less polarising figure who has a chance of uniting Iraqis against Sunni insurgents who have captured large parts of the country in the north and west - including Iraq`s largest dam and five oil fields.
The announcement is likely to please the Sunni minority which dominated Iraq under Saddam Hussein`s iron-fisted rule but was then sidelined by Maliki, a relative unknown when he came to power in 2006 with strong US backing.
The man who plotted against Saddam for years from exile drew comparisons with his former enemy, who had launched brutal crackdowns on Shias and Kurds.
Critics accused Maliki of being an authoritarian leader with a sectarian agenda that drove Sunnis, including heavily-armed tribes, into the Islamic State camp and revived a sectarian civil war.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- 6 leaders were in contact with Dawood Ibrahim till 26/11: Report
- Rameswaram waits to give final salute to Dr Abdul Kalam
- DNA analysis of Yakub Memon's final moments in Nagpur Jail
- SC order on Yakub Memon huge disappointment, setback: Owaisi
- Last rites of Gurdaspur attack martyr Baljit Singh in Kapurthala
- APJ Abdul Kalam's funeral to be held in Rameswaram; PM Modi to attend
- Yakub Memon hanged in Nagpur jail: As it happened
- Has President Pranab Mukherjee rejected Yakub Memon's mercy plea?
- SC refuses stay on Yakub Memon's hanging: As it happened
- 2 NDA, 4 UPA leaders were in contact with Dawood Ibrahim before 26/11: Report