By John Lee.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has finally bowed to pressure and stepped aside to make way for Haider al-Abadi [Haydar al-Abbadi], who has been asked by Iraq's president to form a government.
Appearing on state TV flanked by Mr Abadi and other Shia politicians, Mr Maliki said:
"I announce before you today, to ease the movement of the political process and the formation of the new government, the withdrawal of my candidacy in favour of brother Doctor Haider al-Abadi."
Maliki had previously insisted on his right to form a new government based on the results of a parliamentary election held in April.
(Sources: BBC, Reuters)