BAGHDAD — Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Wednesday that he will not relinquish power until a federal court rules on what he called a "constitutional violation" by the president to replace him with a member of his own party.
The premier has grown increasingly isolated, with Iraqi politicians and much of the international community lining up behind Haider al-Abadi, a fellow member of his Shiite Dawa party tasked by the president with forming a new government that can unite the country in the face of an onslaught by Sunni militants.
"Holding on [to the premiership] is an ethical and patriotic duty to defend the rights of voters," he said in his weekly televised address to the nation. "The insistence on this until the end is to protect the state."
Al-Maliki on Monday vowed legal action against President Fouad Massoum for carrying out "a coup" against the constitution.
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