Iraq PM to lead diverse coalition in May election

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's prime minister says he will lead a "cross-sectarian" list in national elections proposed for May, hoping to build off last year's victory against the Islamic State group.

In a statement issued late Saturday, Haider al-Abadi says his Victory Alliance will "boost the country's integrity and national sovereignty, correct mistakes and achieve justice and equality for all Iraqis." He says the "miracle of victory and unity must lead to a new and brighter era."

Al-Abadi, who comes from Iraq's Shiite majority, assumed office in 2014, weeks after IS stormed across northern and central Iraq. Since then, Iraqi forces backed by a U.S.-led coalition have gradually retaken all the territory once held by the Sunni extremists.

Iraq's Cabinet has proposed elections for May 12, a date that awaits final parliamentary approval.