United Nations: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has commended the decision of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to give up his candidature and support Haider al-Abadi to succeed him.
"The secretary general commends the decision of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to withdraw his candidature and his pledge to support Haider al-Abadi as nominee to succeed him," said a statement issued here Thursday by Ban`s spokesman.
"This will allow the crucial process to form a new government to proceed swiftly and within the time frame provided for in the Constitution," Xinhua quoted the statement as saying.
Al-Maliki withdrew his nomination Thursday for a third term in office, and backed the nomination of al-Abadi.
Ban "acknowledges al-Maliki`s decision as a demonstration of his commitment to the orderly transfer of power in the best interest of the country", the statement said.
"The secretary-general urges all political leaders in Iraq to build on this historic opportunity by redoubling their efforts to work together so as to build consensus on how to address the many urgent and grave challenges facing their country," it said.
"He looks forward to the swift formation of an inclusive, broad-based government ready to immediately tackle these pressing issues," Ban said in his statement.
Al-Maliki made his decision after a meeting with al-Abadi mediated by the country`s Vice President Khudhair al-Khuzaie and former prime minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who is also a leading figure in the powerful Iraqi National Alliance, a major Shia bloc, media reported.
Al-Maliki has been under growing pressure to give up his effort to stay on as the head of government, as the political blocs prefer a new prime minister who is acceptable to the Kurds and Sunnis.
The US and regional power Iran also urged him to step aside and voiced their support for al-Abadi.