Tentative deal in Iraq keeps Maliki in power | world | Hindustan Times
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Tentative deal in Iraq keeps Maliki in power

Iraq’s political leaders reached a tentative deal late Wednesday to form a new government, apparently breaking the eight-month political stalemate that has plagued the country and giving a second term to Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

world Updated: Nov 12, 2010 03:05 IST

Iraq’s political leaders reached a tentative deal late Wednesday to form a new government, apparently breaking the eight-month political stalemate that has plagued the country and giving a second term to Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

The unexpected compromise, after a more than seven-hour meeting, came after the largely Sunni-backed bloc of Iraqiya, which won the most votes in March polls, begrudgingly agreed to back Maliki.

But even as the deal was announced, some Sunni leaders expressed dissatisfaction, a potentially troubling sign for the US as it moves toward the planned withdrawal of all of its forces by the end of 2011. A feeling of exclusion among Sunnis could prompt them to abandon the political process and renew an insurgency that has quieted significantly in recent years, although steady levels of violence continue.

US officials had been pushing a power-sharing agreement between Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi, a secular Shiite, and Maliki, whom they tacitly backed for PM, as a way to break the Shiite leader’s monopoly on government authority and give the Sunni Arab minority a powerful role in Iraq’s next government.

Parliament is expected to meet Thursday for only the second time since the inconclusive March 7 election. Under the new agreement, it is expected to appoint a speaker from Iraqiya, then name the current Kurdish president, Jalal Talabani, as president. He, in turn, will name Maliki as PM. Maliki will then have to put together a cabinet that a simple parliamentary majority must approve.

The new government will be in place as the US faces a deadline to withdraw all its forces by the end of 2011.

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