The White House says it wants to see newly-named Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi form a new government, but embattled outgoing Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki and his supporters are protesting his removal.Mana Rabiee reports.
In Baghdad, a show of support for embattled Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. The President has invited the Shi'ite coalition's nominee for prime minister Haider al Abadi to form a new government, in Maliki's stead. But Maliki isn't going quietly. As prime minister for the past eight years, he says nothing's final until the supreme court rules on his legal appeal to stay in power. (SOUNDBITE) (ARABIC) OUTGOING PM NURI AL-MALIKI, SAYING: "We will proceed in this government; it continues and will not be stopped, and will not be changed except after the Federal Court issues its decision." But it's his successor, Haider al Abadi, who's seen as the man to pull the country out of the current turmoil. Maliki rose to power during the American occupation of Iraq but the White House, too, says it's had enough of him. It welcomes an Abadi government and says Maliki must let the political process move forward. White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes. SOUNDBITE: (English) White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes SAYING: "Dr. Abadi is a candidate for Prime Minister and now the President has asked him to form a government, so in our view he is cleary the prime minister designate in Iraq." Where Maliki has been a polarizing figure, Abadi is considered a man of compromise. Already, he's consulting on forming a coalition government in the hope that new leadership can stop the advance of Sunni jihadists and pull Iraq out of crisis.