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Iraq moves closer to ending Maliki's grip on power with new PM nomination

Published on Aug 12, 2014 11:08 AM

BAGHDAD (AFP) - Iraq moved closer to ending Nuri al-Maliki's stubborn grip on power when his own political clan spurned him for another prime minister called to save the country from breakup.

The much-awaited breakthrough in Baghdad came as Kurdish troops backed by US warplanes battled to turn the tide on two months of jihadist expansion in the north.

"The country is in your hands," President Fuad Masum told Haidar al-Abadi on Monday after accepting his nomination by parliament's Shiite bloc, in a move immediately welcomed by the United States.

Abadi, long considered a close Maliki ally, has 30 days to form a government, amid hopes that a broad-based cabinet could serve as a foundation for healing Iraq's deep sectarian divides.

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