Iraqi president asks Dep. Speaker to form new government

In a public snub to incumbent PM Nouri al-Maliki, Iraqi president Fouad Massoum Monday asked his rival, deputy speaker of parliament Haider al-Abadi to form a national unity government. This was after Maliki said he would stand for a third term, despite dwindling support from Sunnis and Kurds, even before IS gains threw Iraq into crisis. Now his own Shiites have voted overwhelmingly by 130 votes to 40 for Abadi’s candidacy. Pro-Maliki tank and security forces are on the streets of Baghdad. He was warned by Washington, which has been pressing hard for his removal, against the use of force. But the situation in Baghdad is tense.

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