Maliki rules out premiership nomination

Deputy President of the Republic Nuri al-Maliki

Baghdad ( Vice President Nouri al-Maliki ruled out Sunday that his party could nominate him for the leadership of the next Iraqi government after the upcoming legislative elections.

Maliki told Iran’s Qudsona agency that his Islamic Daawa party will nominate “heavyweight political figures”, but continued to note that it does not mean he would be among nominees.

He made the statements during a current visit to Tehran where he was scheduled to meet with top Iranian leaders, including the country’s supreme cleric Ayatollah ali Khamenei.

Legislative elections are scheduled for 2018, but Maliki’s recent criticisms of the current government, headed by his party colleague, Haider al-Abadi, have aroused questions among observers about Maliki’s intention to run for the post.

Maliki became prime minister for the first time in 2006 amid a high tide of sectarian conflicts and al-Qaeda terrorism. He left his post reluctantly in August 2014 to current premier Abadi, but becoming, instead, deputy to Iraqi incumbent president Fuad Masum.

He faced popular anti-corruption protests near the end of his tenure, and an Iraqi parliamentary panel had blamed him for the fall of the city of Mosul to Islamic State militants.

He faced angry protests against him in December when he made a tour of some southern Iraq provinces, and had scheduled speeches and meetings interrupted by demonstrators.

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