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Iraq parliament to meet, Al-Maliki may form govt

Baghdad, November 3, 2010

Iraq's parliament will meet on Monday to elect a speaker, the chamber said on Wednesday, a move that could break an eight-month political deadlock and see Nuri Al-Maliki reappointed as prime minister.

Iraq has been without a permanent government since an inconclusive election in March. The Sunni-backed cross sectarian group Iraqiya won the most seats, but Al-Maliki's faction has since combined with other Shi'ite groups to keep him in power.

In a sign that Iraqiya no longer believes it can form a government, one of its lawmakers said a group of up to 30 of its parliamentarians intended to back a government led by Al-Maliki.   

"We are with whoever wins 50 percent plus one and he is the only one who has, so he has the right (to form a government)," said the lawmaker, Ahmed Al-Ureibi, who belongs to a mainly Sunni group of Iraqiya politicians from around the country.

The country's highest court last month ordered lawmakers to get to work and resume sessions, putting pressure on Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish factions to accelerate efforts to reach an agreement on a governing coalition.

"I invite all members of the parliament to come to the parliament building on Monday, November 8 to elect a speaker and his two deputies," parliament's temporary speaker, Fouad Masoum, said in a statement on the parliament website on Wednesday.

Ureibi told Reuters the three top jobs -- the speaker's post, the presidency and the prime ministership -- would all be decided in Monday's parliamentary session.   

The deadlock has mainly pitted Al-Maliki against former premier Iyad Allawi, leader of Iraqiya. Tensions have spiked amid fears that any deal that sidelines Iraqiya could anger Sunnis and reinvigorate a weakened but still lethal insurgency.

At least 64 people were killed and 360 wounded from a series of bomb blasts in mainly Shi'ite areas of Baghdad on Tuesday, just days after 52 hostages and police were killed when Al Qaeda-linked gunmen seized a Syrian Catholic cathedral. - Reuters




Tags: Iraq | Al-Maliki | Allawi |

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