Iraq president names deputy speaker as embattled PM Maliki’s replacement

World Today

Iraqis chant pro-government slogans and wave national flags in a show of support for embattled Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki during a demonstration in Baghdad, Iraq on Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/ Hadi Mizban)

Iraq’s new president named a prime minister to replace incumbent prime minister Nuri al-Maliki on Monday.

President Fouad Massoum and a coalition of Shiite political parties nominated deputy parliament speaker Haider al-Ibadi to form a new government, raising fears of more infighting in the government as the country faces the threat of Sunni militants in the north.

In a televised address, Iraq’s president gave al-Ibadi 30 days to form a new government and present it to parliament for approval.

Iraqi President Fouad Masoum signing official document asking Haider al-Ibadi to form government

New PM Abadi calls on Iraqis to unite

New PM Abadi calls on Iraqis to unite

Iraq's new president named a prime minister to replace incumbent prime minister Nuri al-Maliki on Monday.

Translated remarks

(00:20-00:40) Iraqi President Fouad Masoum
This is the official letter of assignment and I hope you will be successful in forming a broad-based government within the set period defined by the constitution…

(00:42-01:03) Deputy parliament speaker Haider al-Ibadi
…and all other terrorist organisations. I have confidence that with the people and political blocs we would be able to overcome this barbaric and savage attack on the Iraqi people and provide a good environment for the Iraqi people to live in.”

(01:05-01:18) Iraqi President Fouad Masoum
The people will trust that you and the council of ministers to protect them. As I have said, serious work is needed to bring conditions back to normal.


 

The ceremony came hours after the embattled prime minister delivered a surprise speech at midnight accusing the country’s president of blocking his reappointment as prime minister and carrying out “a coup against the constitution and the political process.”

Despite angrily insisting that he should be nominated for a third term, Maliki has lost some of his support with the main coalition of Shiite parties turning against him.

Al-Ibadi, who pledged to form a government to “protect the Iraqi people,” was nominated for the post by the Iraqi National Alliance, a coalition of Shiite parties that of which Maliki’s State of Law is a part.

“We all have to cooperate to stand against this terrorist campaign launched on Iraq and to stop all terrorist groups,” Al-Ibadi said in broadcast remarks after meeting Masoum.

Critics say Maliki, a Shiite, contributed to the crisis facing the country by monopolizing power and pursuing a sectarian agenda that alienated the country’s Sunni and Kurdish minorities.

Al-Ibadi’s nomination came hours after Maliki deployed his elite security forces in the streets of Baghdad and partially closed two main streets. Hundreds of al-Maliki’s supporters took to the streets, raising fears that he might use force to stay in power.

Militants from the Islamic State, who routed Maliki’s army in the north in June, made new gains over Kurdish forces — despite three days of U.S. air strikes.

There was no immediate reaction from Maliki to the naming of Haider al-Abadi as prime minister. However, Maliki’s son-in-law, a close political ally, said that Maliki would seek to overturn the nomination in the courts.

Al-Abadi, who spent decades in exile in Britain during the rule of Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein, urged national unity against the “barbaric” Islamic State, which has driven tens of thousands from their homes as it swept Baghdad’s troops from the north and west to consolidate a “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria.

Report compiled with information from Reuters and The Associated Press.