Iraq’s Sistani pulls support from al-Abadi, al-Maliki
Prominent Shia cleric Ali al-Sistani does not support either current Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi or former PM Nouri al-Maliki to lead Iraq’s next government, according to a Monday statement carried by a website known to be close to al-Sistani.
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According to the Iraqi constitution, the largest bloc in parliament has the right to select the next prime minister.
“Most of the public no longer believes that these individuals can improve the country’s situation and successfully wage the fight against corruption,” the statement read.
"A new personality -- someone competent, fair and courageous -- must be chosen instead,” it added.
Al-Sistani enjoys the respect of a large segment of the population, especially in Iraq’s Shia-majority central and southern provinces.
Formation of a new government has been stalled since May, when Iraq held a hard-fought parliamentary poll, the results of which were later subject to a recount.