With the shadow of Egypt’s uprising looming large on the horizon, officials seem to be keen on staving off concerns that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who has been eagerly centralizing his power (he is currently simultaneously PM, Interior Minister, Defense Minister and Internal Security Minister), has designs on being a Mubarak-style strongman.
This has led the Iraqi State Media to insist that Maliki has ruled out running for a third term in 2014, and indeed reports that he is pushing for a two-term limit on the prime ministership. Maliki echoed this yesterday in comments to AFP.
“I have personally decided not to seek aanother term in office after this one, a decision I made at the beginning of my first term,” Maliki told AFP, and one would think that would be the end of that. But in Iraqi politics, things are rarely so straightforward.
Because just one day after the AFP piece ran, Maliki’s official spokesman Ali al-Moussawi insisted that no such decision had been made and Maliki reserved the right to run for a third term if the constitution is not changed to forbid it.