Iraqi PM Abadi to Run Against Maliki in Election

Abadi said he will seek to form a cross-sectarian block called “victory alliance’’ in his bid for reelection, with candidates from other communities
Haider al-AbadiHaider al-Abadi

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Saturday he will lead a “cross-sectarian” list in national elections proposed for May, running against former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who is blamed for the Iraqi army’s collapse.

Abadi, who assumed office in 2014, weeks after the self-styled Islamic State stormed across northern and central Iraq, hopes to build on last year’s victory against the terrorist group, DW reported.

He said he will seek to form a cross-sectarian block called “victory alliance’’ in his bid for reelection, with candidates from other communities. The elections are expected to take place in May.

The alliance would aim to unify the country after a recent victory over IS militants.

Abadi, a Shia Muslim, led the country in the four-year war against IS. He is credited for hastily rebuilding the Iraqi army and defeating the group in its major Iraqi stronghold of Mosul in July 2017.

He called on Iraqis planning to compete in the polls to join what he referred to as his “victory” list.

“The cross-sectarian ‘victory alliance’ will work for all Iraqis, enhance the country’s unity and national sovereignty, rectify mistaken courses and achieve justice and equality among Iraqis in terms of rights and duties,” Abadi said in a press statement.

The prime minister took over the premiership in 2014 from Maliki, who is widely criticized by Iraqi politicians for the army’s collapse, which saw IS sweep through a third of the country.

  Nuri al-Maliki Also Running

Maliki, who is the head of the Shia Dawa party, announced on Saturday he will be running in the elections. He is seen as Abadi’s biggest challenger, and currently holds the ceremonial title of vice-president.

Abadi is also a Dawa member, but he did not secure Maliki’s endorsement for his candidacy.

On Saturday, Maliki told Dawa supporters they would be free to choose between his alliance, called ‘’state of law,” and Abadi’s ‘’victory alliance.’’

The prime minister’s office is reserved for Iraq’s majority Shia Arab community under a power-sharing system set up after the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

The largely ceremonial office of president is reserved for a Kurdish member of parliament. The speaker of parliament is drawn from Sunni Arab MPs.

Iraq’s cabinet has proposed May 12 as the date for the elections, but parliament is yet to approve it.

Sunni leaders have called for the vote to be delayed to allow the more than 3 million people displaced by fighting in the region to return home, but Abadi’s government has insisted the elections be held on time.

The UN mission to Iraq said while the election commission faces “significant challenges” it would be able to “deliver a timely, fair and transparent national election.”

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints