"The country is now in your hands," Massoum told Abadi, who moments earlier was selected as nominee for prime minister instead of incumbent Nouri al-Maliki by the Shia National Alliance parliamentary bloc.
The deepening political tensions come as fighters from the Islamic State group made advances by capturing the town of Jalawla northeast of Baghdad, after defeating Kurdish Peshmerga troops. This latest round of political infighting could hamper efforts to stem advances by the Sunni group. The Shia National Alliance had won the most parliament seats in the April elections and Maliki had seen himself as keeping the post for a third term. But has been accused by critics of steering the country toward a sectarian war.
In a televised speech late on Sunday, Maliki had declared that he would file a legal complaint against Masum, for committing a "clear consitution violation" by missing a deadline to ask the biggest bloc in parliament to nominate a prime minister.
Iraqi special forces loyal to Maliki were deployed at Baghdad's main intersections on Monday, police officials said. An Al Jazeera source reported that there were hieghtened security but there were no tanks visible. On Monday, the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called on the EU to "mobilise" to respond to appeals from Iraqi Kurds for arms to fight Islamic State members, as the US continues its air campaign against the fighters.
Source: Al Jazeera