(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
BAGHDAD - Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Sunday announced he would stand for re-election on May 12 at the head of a cross-sectarian bloc, and received the support of a powerful Shi'ite group close to Iran.
Abadi, a Shi'ite Muslim who led Iraq in the three-year war against the jihadist group Islamic State, said the "Victory Alliance" that he was assembling to contest the parliamentary election would include candidates from other communities.
Abadi took over the premiership in 2014 from Nuri al-Maliki, a close ally of Iran widely blamed by Iraqi politicians for the army's collapse as Islamic State seized a third of Iraq.
Maliki, who heads the Shi'ite Dawa party, announced on Saturday that he would be running in the election.
Maliki, who holds the ceremonial title of vice-president, remains a powerful figure as head of the largest political bloc in the current parliament.