Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is expected to address the nation on television soon to announce that he will step down and endorse his nominated replacement to succeed him, state television says.
Maliki, who has been under increasing pressure to step aside, would be succeeded by Haider Al-Abadi, from the prime minister’s own Dawa Party, who was appointed on Monday and had begun the process of forming a Cabinet despite Maliki’s angry denunciations.
Even so, Maliki pledged earlier this week not to use force to stay in power. Dawa Party spokesman Khalaf Abdul Samad said Wednesday that Maliki had told him he would in fact step down.
Maliki, whose formative political career was as a Shia dissident under Saddam Hussein, became prime minister in 2006, taking the reins from the Iraqi Transitional Government set up after the U.S. invasion and Saddam’s ouster.
He worked closely with the U.S., but has gradually fallen out of favor with Washington, especially in recent months as Islamic militants have launched a push to capture large areas of the country.