Maliki called for Iraqis to unite, and said the country’s days of dictatorship and one-party rule were behind it, even as rival politicians have accused him of centralising decision-making power.
Speaking at a ceremony attended by several ministers and top security officials at the Al-Shaab stadium complex in central Baghdad, Maliki said December 31 was “a feast for all Iraqis” and marked “the day Iraq became sovereign”.
“I announce today, the 31st of December, which witnessed the completion of the withdrawal of US forces, to be a national day,” Maliki said. “We call it Iraq Day.”
“Today, you are raising the Iraqi flag across the nation, and unifying under that flag. Today, Iraq becomes free and you are the masters.”