Iraqi PM Abadi announces candidacy for May elections

Iraqi PM announces coalition for May election

Iraqi PM announces coalition for May election

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and his predecessor, Nouri al-Maliki, will run in the upcoming elections on two separate roasters, despite both taking part in the Islamic Dawa Party.

In a statement, the Prime Ministry's press office said: "PM Abadi forms the Victory Coalition, calling on political groups to join this supra-sectarian national coalition".

Al-Abadi, who comes from Iraq's Shiite majority, assumed office in 2014, weeks after IS stormed across northern and central Iraq.

Abadi is a Dawa member but he didn't secure Maliki's endorsement for his candidacy. Maliki said on Saturday Dawa supporters will be free to choose between his alliance, called "state of law", and Abadi's "victory alliance".

Abadi is credited for quickly rebuilding the army and defeating Islamic State in its main Iraqi stronghold, Mosul, last July, with strong assistance from a USA -led coalition.

Maliki holds the ceremonial title of vice-president. The speaker of parliament is drawn from Sunni Arab MPs.

Iraq's Cabinet has proposed elections for May 12, a date that awaits final parliamentary approval.