Monday, August 11, 2014

Iraqi president appoints new Prime Minister in order to sideline Al-Maliki

Haïdar al-Abadi, en 2009 à Bagdad
Haidar al-Abadi
The Iraqi president Fouad al-Masoum had nominated the deputy speaker of the Iraqi parliament, Haidar al-Abadi, Prime Minister. Al-Abadi had 30 days to form a new government. A bloc comprising Iraq's biggest Shi'ite parties stands behind Al-Abadi, who is taking the place of  Nuri al-Maliki, who had been Prime Minister Prime Minister since 2006. Since the inconslusive elections of April Al-Maliki headed a caretaker governmentand he was seeking a third term, resisting mounting pressure from different sides, including from his former ally the United States, to step down, as he had been estranging the Sunnis, the Kurds and even several trends amongst his own Shiíte constituency, which accused him of  fuelling sectarian violence. Maliki remained defiant till the very last moment.
In a televised speech on Sunday he suggested that he was not going to cave in to pressure and he accused President Masoum, from the ethnic Kurdish minority, of violating the constitution. by missing a deadline to ask the biggest political bloc in the new legislature to nominate a prime minister and form a government. "I will submit today an official complaint to the federal court against the president of the Republic for committing a clear constitutional violation for the sake of political calculations," Maliki said in his televised speech. At the same time police sources in Baghdad disclosed that special forces and Shi'ite militias personally loyal to Maliki had been deployed in strategic areas of Baghdad after he made his tv-speech.
Tbnesion was high in Baghdad after the installation of Abadi as the ne Pruime Minisyert. Main roads in the capital were blocked by security troops, there wer checkpoints on the bridges and the green zone, the area where most government offices are located, was heavily protected.
Critics accused Maliki the past weeks of pursuing a sectarian agenda which has sidelined minority Sunni Muslims and prompted some of them to support Islamic State militants, whose latest sweep through northern Iraq has alarmed the Baghdad government and its Western allies, prompting U.S. air strikes in recent days.Washington had lost patience with Maliki, who has placed Shi'ite political loyalists in key positions in the army and military and drawn comparisons with executed former dictator Saddam Hussein, the man he plotted against from exile for years. A State Department spokeswoman reaffirmed Washington's support for a "process to select a prime minister who can represent the aspirations of the Iraqi people by building a national consensus and governing in an inclusive manner".

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