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Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki steps down

ANKARA (AA) - Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has accepted defeat and stepped aside for Haider al-Abadi, according to Iraqi state television. His spokesman Ali al-Moussawi said he had also withdrawn a lawsuit against the president for not observing a deadline to select a new prime minister.
"Maliki will also withdraw the lawsuit filed against President Fouad Massoum with the federal court," al-Moussawi said.
On Tuesday, Maliki attacked al-Abadi’s appointment as the prime minister-designate as "not less dangerous than the fall of Mosul."
He added: "We are faced with a violation of the Iraqi constitution… The federal court must clarify this issue as soon as possible."
On Monday, Massoum asked al-Abadi, deputy parliamentary chairman, to form a government, snubbing Maliki, who had wanted a third term as prime minister. After forces loyal to Maliki were seen around official buildings Sunday night there were fears his supporters would resist the new government. The United States, Turkey and Iran, as well as Iraqi Kurdish, Sunni, Shiite groups have welcomed al-Abadi’s nomination. He must form a unity government within a month. Maliki had served as prime minister since 2006 but he lost support by refusing to commit to an inclusive unity government. His pro-Shiite policies are blamed for leading to Iraq’s current crisis.

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