Pro-government supporters of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, chant slogans during a demonstration in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Aug 13, 2014. Tanks and Humvees were positioned on Baghdad bridges and at major intersections on Wednesday, with security personnel more visible than usual as pro-Maliki demonstrators took to Firdous Square in the capital, pledging their allegiance to him. Arabic on the placard at right reads, "al-Maliki is our choice." (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
BAGHDAD — Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq’s prime minister for the past eight years, says he is relinquishing the post to fellow Dawa Party member Haider al-Abadi.
Al-Maliki says his decision is based on his desire to “safeguard the high interests of the country,” adding that he will not be the cause of any bloodshed.
“I will stay a combat soldier to defend Iraq and its people,” he added in the televised address late Thursday, with al-Abadi standing by his side.
Iraq’s President Fouad Massoum named al-Abadi on Monday to form the next government, but al-Maliki had until now refused to step aside.