BAGHDAD (AFP) - Iraq's caretaker prime minister Nuri al-Maliki said Wednesday that it will take a federal court ruling for him to leave power, defying President Fuad Masum's decision to task a rival with forming the next government.
"I confirm that the government will continue and there will not be a replacement for it without a decision from the federal court," Mr Maliki, who has been in office since 2006, said in his televised weekly address.
While Mr Maliki insists the premiership should be his, declaring premier-designate Mr Haidar al-Abadi's selection on Monday a "constitutional violation", his bid to retain power has reached a dead end with the widespread international backing for his rival, especially from Teheran and Washington.
In an apparent warning to Mr Maliki, US State Department spokesman Marie Harf said Tuesday that Washington "would reject any effort, legally or otherwise, to achieve outcomes through coercion or manipulation of the constitutional or judicial process". "There's a constitutional process, it is happening, and that is what we support," said Ms Harf.