Iraq's al-Maliki gives up post to rival

BAGHDAD - Iraq's Nouri al-Maliki has given up his post as prime minister to Haider al-Abadi, state television reported Thursday -- a move that could end a political deadlock that plunged Baghdad into uncertainty as the country fights a Sunni militant insurgency.


The Iraqiya television network said al-Maliki has "relinquished the post of prime minister." It did not elaborate. Afak television, al-Maliki's private network, ran a bulletin saying "al-Maliki joins the greatest men of history by giving up posts."


The announcement comes ahead of an address al-Maliki is due to make later Thursday evening, according to the government.


Iraq's President Fouad Massoum named al-Abadi on Monday to form the next government, but al-Maliki had until now refused to step aside.