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Iraqi PM al-Maliki resigns

Iraq's incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced his resignation on Thursday and offered support to his successor.

On Monday, Iraqi President Fuad Masum asked parliament Deputy Speaker Haider al-Abbadi to begin forming a new government. Under the Constitution, a new government has to be formed within 30 days.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the appointment of Haider al-Abbadi as the new prime minister of Iraq and urged all parties in the country to respect its Constitution.

Ban urged the new prime minister "to form a broad-based government acceptable to all components of Iraqi society, in accordance with the constitutional time-frame", the secretary-general's spokesperson said.

The U.N. chief expressed concern that "heightened political tensions coupled with the current security threat of 'Islamic State' (IS) could lead the country into even deeper crisis".

He strongly urged "all political parties and their supporters to remain calm and respect the political process governed by the Constitution".

"The people of Iraq deserve to live in a safe, prosperous and stable country - one that all groups in Iraq, including religious and ethnic minorities, can meaningfully contribute to and feel as their own," Ban said.

Al-Abbadi's nomination was announced by the National Alliance and approved by the president of the country. The National Alliance is a broad-based coalition of Shi'a Islamic parties, including the State of Law coalition headed by former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. His coalition, which has a majority of votes in the parliament, opposed al-Abbadi's appointment.

Initially, al-Maliki opposed al-Abbadi's appointment as the new prime minister and said it was a gross violation of the Constitution.

[Source: Itar Tass, Kuwait City, 14Aug14]

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