Iraq's president sidesteps al-Maliki and offers PM's job to al-Abadi

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Iraqi politics have been thrown into turmoil in a succession of events on Monday that may spell the end of the prime minister’s career.

The National Alliance, the Shi’ite community’s main political coalition, chose Haider al-Abadi as its prime ministerial candidate. He is the man most likely to get the Shi’ite support Maliki has until now relied upon.

Earlier al-Maliki looked to have won his battle to serve a third consecutive term when a court overturned a constitutional two-term limit. He then threatened the new president, a Kurd, with legal action if he did not offer al-Maliki’s State of Law party the chance to form a new government.

Al-Maliki’s political allies immediately rejected the move as illegitimate, with a close al-Maliki aide saying al-Abadi “only represents himself”, but President Fouad Masoum has asked him to form a new government.

However the United States was quick to congratulate al-Abadi on his nomination. This may indicate Washington’s patience may be at an end with a man many accuse of following divisive policies in Iraq and doing nothing to rebuild the economy, or prevent the Sunni militant ISIL forces from overrunning half of the country.

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