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Iraq's PM designate Haidar al-Abadi a 'genial but tough' former exile

Published on Aug 13, 2014 12:04 AM
A file picture taken on November 22, 2009 shows Iraqi MP and Dawa party member Haidar al-Abadi in Baghdad. Iraq's National Alliance parliamentary bloc has chosen Mr Abadi as its nominee for prime minister in place of incumbent Nouri al-Maliki. -- PHOTO: AFP 

BAGHDAD (AFP) - Haidar al-Abadi, tasked with forming Iraq's next government during a major crisis, is a former exile and long-serving MP described variously as a genial, tough, diplomatic and uncontroversial politician.

Many of those characteristics are a sharp departure from outgoing premier Nouri al-Maliki, who is opposed by Iraq's Sunni Arabs and some of his own Shi'ite community, and has defiantly insisted he is being robbed of a third term in a violation of the country's constitution.

Mr Abadi, a member of Mr Maliki's Dawa party, earned a doctorate from Manchester University in Britain, where he remained in exile for much of Saddam Hussein's rule.

Two of his brothers were arrested and executed by Saddam's regime for membership in the Dawa party, which opposed his rule, while a third was imprisoned for a decade on the same charge.

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