Monday, 7 February 2011

Al-Maliki will not seek third term in office

According to reports by Iraqi media, the country's Premier Minister Nouri Al-Maliki will not seek a third term in office when his tenure runs out in 2014. Al-Maliki also proposed to impose a two-term limit on future premiers, and received cross-party backing for the initiative.

Maliki remained in his post as prime minister after inconclusive poll results and nine months of political wrangling were ended by the formation of a new government. Speaking about the limit, al-Maliki said: "The constitution does not prevent a third, fourth or fifth term, but I have personally decided not to seek another term after this one. I support the insertion of a paragraph in the constitution that the prime minister gets only two turns, only eight years, and I think that's enough."

News of his decision come amid continuing pro-democracy protests in the Middle East. Referring to Egypt al-Maliki said,“The people have the right to express what they want without being persecuted. One of the characteristics of a lack of democracy is when a leader rules for 30 or 40 years. It is a difficult issue for people, it is intolerable and change is necessary."

Maliki's comments coincide with an upsurge of scattered protests across Iraq demanding jobs and an end to corruption, inspired by the pro-democracy demonstrations in Egypt and Tunisia. Al-Maliki faces many challenges in his second term including, continuing instability and violence, division of oil wealth and the planned withdrawal of US troops by the end of 2011.

Sources: BBC News, Alsumaria, CNN, WSJ, The National

For more news and expert analysis about Iraq, please see Iraq Focus.

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