Iraq PM to head new coalition in May vote

BAGHDAD: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi announced plans on Sunday to run for re-election in May at the head of a new coalition separate from key rival and Dawa party co-member Nuri al Maliki.
Abadi said in a statement he set up the “Victory Alliance” coalition as a “cross-sectarian” list aimed at overcoming divisions and battling inequalities in the country. The coalition, the 65-year-old premier said, would strive to “protect the victory and the sacrifices” of the Iraqi people and to “fight against corruption… (and for) the unity of Iraq”.
Abadi declared victory in December in the three-year war by Iraqi forces to expel the IS group from the vast areas north and west of Baghdad it had seized in 2014. Abadi had announced the previous month that Iraq’s next parliamentary election would be held on May 15, but the date was later changed to May 12.
The capture by IS of nearly one third of Iraq came under the rule of Maliki, the current vice president and former prime minister who ceded power to Abadi in August that year.
Abadi and Maliki are both members of the Dawa party which has held the Iraqi premiership since 2006, three years after Saddam Hussein was ousted in a US-led invasion. — AFP