|Maliki rejects appointment of Abadi||
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said on Wednesday it will take a court ruling for him to leave power, defying the president's decision to task a rival with forming a government.
"I confirm that the government will continue and there will not be a replacement for it without a decision from the federal court," Maliki said in his televised weekly address, according to AFP.
The two-term premier has accused President Fouad Masum of violating the constitution by approving the nomination of Haider al-Abadi, a member of his Dawa party, to form a government, and vowed he would sue.
Maliki has complained to the Federal Court that, as leader of the largest bloc in the new parliament, he must by right be given the first chance to form a new government. The appointment by Masoum of Abadi as prime minister-designate on Monday was therefore a breach of the constitution, he said, Reuters reported.
"The violation that occurred has no value, and its consequences have no effect," Maliki said on television. "This government is continuing, and will not be changed except after the Federal Court issues its decision."
In theory, Maliki should continue as acting premier, with limited powers, until a new government is sworn in. He has had the personal loyalty of senior commanders of the police and armed forces as well as irregular Shi'ite militia units. It is unclear he would try to resist his removal by force, however. On Tuesday, he urged commanders to keep out of politics.
Whatever ruling the court might deliver, analysts say Maliki has lost too much support to stay in power.
And international backing has meanwhile poured in for Abadi, including from both Washington and Tehran, the two main foreign power-brokers in Iraq.
The political transition comes at a time of crisis for Iraq.
Subscribe to our RSS feed to stay in touch and receive all of TT updates right in your feed reader