Iraqi national alliance nominates Abadi as new PM
Iraqi national alliance nominated Monday deputy parliament speaker Haider al-Abadi as prime minister, according to Reuters news agency.
“The National Alliance has named Haidar al-Abadi as its candidate for prime minister,” a lawmaker said.
Several other sources in parliament confirmed the decision.
The move is likely to deepen political tensions at a time when the country needs a united front against a raging Sunni insurgency. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has indicated he will not cave in to pressure to drop a bid for a third term.
The decision came hours after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki not to cause trouble as Washington threw its weight behind President Fuad Masum.
“We stand absolutely squarely behind President Masum (who) has the responsibility for upholding the constitution of Iraq,” he said in Sydney.
“Our hope is that Mr. Maliki will not stir those waters,” Kerry said.
Kerry also said that the formation of an Iraqi government was critical for stability.
“The government formation process is critical in terms of sustaining stability and calm in Iraq, and our hope is that Mr Maliki will not stir those waters,” Kerry told reporters in Sydney ahead of an annual Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN).
“One thing all Iraqis need to know, that there will be little international support of any kind whatsoever for anything that deviates from the legitimate constitution process that is in place and being worked on now.”
U.S. support for Masum
Kerry’s comments came following the U.S. announcement that it was supporting Iraqi President Fuad Masum after Maliki announced on state television he would be filing a complaint against Masum, Agence France Presse reported.
“The United States fully supports President Fuad Masum in his role as guarantor of the Iraqi Constitution,” Marie Harf, the State Department spokeswoman, said in a statement, echoing an earlier comment made on Twitter by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Brett McGurk.
“We reaffirm our 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,” Harf said.
On Sunday, Maliki, who has been under pressure to give up his bid for a third term, announced his intentions to file a complaint in a surprise address at midnight (2100 GMT Sunday).
He alleged newly elected Masum had violated the constitution twice, including by failing to task a prime minister-designate with forming a new government.
Many Iraqis see Maliki as partly responsible for the recent conflict in northern Iraq, for having institutionalized sectarianism.