Iraqi parliament's deputy speaker nominated for PM

Iraqi parliament's deputy speaker nominated for PM

Iraqi parliament's deputy speaker nominated for PM

The Iraqi National Alliance, a Shia organisation, Monday nominated Haidar al-Abadi, the deputy speaker of parliament, for the post of prime minister, as outgoing Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki struggles to stay on for a third term, media reports said.

Shia lawmakers in the umbrella organisation the Iraqi National Alliance, which includes Maliki's State of the Law bloc, sent a letter signed by 127 out of more than 170 members in the alliance, to Iraqi President Fuad Masoum, nominating Abadi to replace Maliki, Xinhua quoted the Baghdad satellite channel as saying in a report.

It said that Masoum held a meeting with lawmakers of the alliance with the attendance of parliament Speaker Salim al-Jubouri, to discuss the political development, the channel said.

The latest move is likely to increase the political tension in the country as Maliki struggles for a third term in office.

Earlier on Monday, in a boost to Maliki's bid to stay on for a third term, a top Iraqi court ruled that his group is the largest in the country's parliament.

The decision meant that President Fuad Masoum, who Maliki criticised for not intervening after parliament failed to appoint him, would have to invite him to form a government.

The development came as pro-Maliki security forces were deployed in strategic areas in the capital city, in particular the areas surrounding the Green Zone, which houses most Iraqi top offices and ministries, as well as the US embassy.

Dozens of people loyal to Maliki took to the streets in Fardous Square in central Baghdad, urging a third-term for Maliki. Many threatened to hold sit-ins in the capital if Maliki is not asked to form a new cabinet.

Maliki had been under increasing pressure to give up his attempt for a third term.