An Iraqi woman and a girl walk past an electoral banner for former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that was damaged by a storm the day before, in the capital Baghdad on April 28, 2018. AFP / SABAH ARAR
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Former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki fulfilled his lifelong goal of wresting power from the country's minority Sunnis after the fall of Saddam Hussein but his drive to entrench Shiite dominance proved his downfall.Now, after four years sidelined as one of three largely ceremonial vice presidents, Maliki is taking on Abadi in the May 12 election in a bid to win a third term as prime minister, and is posing once again as Iraq's Shiite champion.After returning in 2003, Maliki joined Iraq's interim government and became prime minister in 2006, establishing a reputation as a shrewd political operator and the Shiite leader who pulled Iraq back from the brink of civil war.Blamed for letting Daesh seize a third of Iraq in 2014, Maliki was blocked from winning a third term by Iraq's top Shiite religious scholar, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, opening the door for Abadi to become prime minister.Maliki is proposing to replace the system whereby the Cabinet must reflect the parliamentary representation of political parties with a multi-ethnic governing majority and a multi-ethnic opposition minority.As the leader of the Dawa Party, Maliki will command a solid base of Shiite support in the election, especially from religious Shiites wary of power-sharing.
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