Mixed reactions as Iraq's Maliki finally steps aside
Friday, August 15, 2014 - 01:20
Iraqis divided as Nuri al-Maliki finally bows to pressure and steps down as prime minister. Jillian Kitchener reports.
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There were mixed feelings on the streets of Baghdad, the morning after Nuri al-Maliki finally stepped down as Iraq's prime minister
Some saw it as a victory for Iraq's fledgling democracy.
(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) IRAQI RESIDENT, AHMED, SAYING:
"It is a good decision and it shows the bravery of the man and his sacrifice for the people. It is a landslide victory for the people."
In the face of growing pressure to step aside, Maliki appeared on State Television Thursday night and dropped his bid for a third term.
He pledged support for his replacement, Shi'ite Haider al-Abadi, who stood by his side.
But not all Iraqis welcome the change:
(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) IRAQI RESIDENT, HUSSEIN HAMA, SAYING:
"The decision was prompted by internal and external interventions and this will usher in the start of what is called a compromised democracy. This will have a negative impact in the future and will stop people from taking part in elections."
In his televised address, Maliki spoke of the threat from Islamic State militants who have taken over large areas of northern Iraq.
Now all eyes are on Abadi, who is seen as a far less polarizing figure, with a better chance of uniting Iraqis against the Sunni insurgents.
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