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Iraq's Maliki concedes defeat, backs PM designate

People carry a portrait of outgoing prime minister Nuri al-Maliki, ahead of a rally to show their support for Maliki, in Baghdad, on August 13, 2014Iraq’s divisive premier Nuri al-Maliki dropped his bid to stay in power, bowing to huge domestic and international pressure as a jihadist-led offensive threatens to tear the country apart. The two-term premier threw in the towel on Thursday, after an acrimonious political battle and backed his designated successor Haidar al-Abadi, a fellow member of the Shiite party Dawa. “I announce before you today… the withdrawal of my candidacy in favour of the brother Doctor Haidar al-Abadi,” he said in a televised address, with Abadi standing next to him. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Maliki’s withdrawal “will allow the crucial process to form a new government to proceed swiftly and within the time frame provided for in the constitution.”

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