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Abadi's balance draws praise, but governing Iraq a tightrope act

Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi has shown balance and pragmatism in forming a government, but the danger of being drawn into sectarian rhetoric remains.
Iraq's Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi (R) meets with Pastor Farouk Yousuf in Baghdad August 21, 2014. REUTERS/Karim Kadim/Pool (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS RELIGION) - RTR438QY
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Iraq’s Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi has not sought media attention or stirred up political, sectarian and nationalist sensitivities in speeches and statements since he was tasked with forming a government. His calm and balanced discourse has helped, to a large extent, to overcome many obstacles in the traditional formation seen in previous governments.

Preserving a balanced position when addressing the public or the political class amid such violence, crisis and bloodshed in Iraq is a difficult task, particularly if one is to appeal to the various political factions. Yet, having maintained an understated tone in speeches addressing public opinion so far, he has also been preserving this tone in his private meetings and consultations to form a government. This seems to be the result of an extraordinary effort by Abadi.

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