Baghdad: Here are the main dates of the eight years in power of Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki in Iraq, whose president on Monday appointed Haider Al Abadi as his successor:
April 22: Newly-re-elected President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, announces that he asked Al Maliki, a Shiite, to form the next government, replacing Ebrahim Al Jaafari, who was contested by Sunnis and Kurds.
May 21: A national unity cabinet is sworn in, dominated by Al Maliki’s United Iraqi Alliance, which won most seats in parliamentary election.
October 11: Parliament approves a law allowing the country’s 18 provinces to hold referendums to merge themselves into larger federal regions with a measure of self-government.
The law was opposed by some in the Sunni community, who feared that their group would be left only with a rump territory in the barren west and centre of the country.
August 14: At least 400 are killed in the most deadly attacks since the overthrow of dictator Saddam Hussain in the US-led invasion of 2003, targeting members of the ancient Kurdish-speaking Yazidi religious sect in the northern province of Nineveh. Al Qaida is blamed.
In spite of the deployment of some 155,000 US soldiers, since the blowing up of a revered Shiite shrine in Samarra, north of Baghdad, on February 22, 2006, Iraq goes through a bloody sectarian war that costs tens of thousands of lives up until 2008.
March 7: Parliamentary elections marred by sectarianism. Shiites vote for Al Maliki’s State of Law Alliance and the United Iraqi Alliance, while Sunnis vote for the secular Iraqiya bloc of Iyad Allawi. Neither side has enough seats to form a government.
November: Political leaders announce a deal on the ethnic and sectarian make-up of the three main posts — president, prime minister, and speaker of parliament. Talabani is re-elected president and Al Maliki named prime minister.
December 20: A government of national unity is set up, and completed in February, with Al Maliki holding the three vacant security portfolios on an interim basis.
February 3: The start of protests calling for improved public services, more jobs and less corruption and for broader political reforms.
December 18: US troops complete their withdrawal, ending nearly nine years of occupation, leaving country mired in a political crisis.
A day later an arrest warrant is issued for Vice-President Tareq Al Hashemi, who takes refuge in Kurdistan. Iraqiya bloc briefly boycotts the cabinet.
December 23: The start of major protests, particularly in the Sunni province of Anbar, demanding Al Maliki’s ouster and accusing him of monopolising power and discriminating against Sunnis.
April 23: Start of a week of clashes in Hawijah in northern Iraq between security forces and anti-government protesters allegedly infiltrated by militants that leave more than 240 dead.
According to the NGO Iraq Body Count, 2013 was the deadliest year since 2008, with 9,475 civilians killed.
January 2-4: Iraq loses control of Fallujah and parts of Ramadi in Anbar province to Al Qaida-linked fighters, after security forces cleared an anti-government protest camp in December.
April 30: Al Maliki wins the most seats in the first general election since US troops departed, but his State of Law alliance falls short of an overall majority.
June 10: Hundreds of Isil militants seize Iraq’s second biggest city Mosul as government forces take flight. They go on to seize broad swathes of territory in the north and the west. On August 8, US jets strike militant positions.
August 11: President Fuad Masum tasks Al Abadi with forming a government, moments after he was selected as nominee for prime minister by the National Alliance bloc.