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Fragile Iraq power deal faces fissures

world Updated: Nov 13, 2010 01:23 IST

A power-sharing pact that saw Nuri al-Maliki named as prime minister-elect was looking frayed Friday after parliament ended in disarray over claims the deal was broken just hours after being sealed.

The dispute sparked a dramatic walk-out by a group of 60 MPs from a Sunni-backed bloc, underscoring the fragility of the agreement, which seeks to finally end Iraq’s political impasse eight months after elections.

As part of the deal, brokered during three days of intense talks, President Jalal Talabani, re-elected by MPs, named Maliki as the country’s prime minister on Thursday evening.

That was overshadowed, however, by a dispute that prompted angry members of the Iraqiya bloc to storm out of the Council of Representatives chamber.

The support of Iraqiya, which narrowly won the March 7 poll and garnered most of its seats in Sunni areas, is seen as vital to preventing a resurgence of violence.

The Sunni Arab minority that dominated Saddam Hussein’s regime was the bedrock of the anti-US insurgency after the 2003 invasion.

“Last night showed that the agreement is shaky — maybe it was signed behind closed doors, and when it came into the open, one side did not support it,” independent Kurdish lawmaker Mahmud Othman.