Iraq

Iraqi Spokesman: Shiite Coalition to Decide on New PM Soon

Ali_al-DabbaqShiites’ broad coalition will select the new prime minister of the country in coming days, Iraqi Government Spokesman Ali al-Dabbaq announced on Monday, reminding that incumbent Premier Nuri al-Malili is one of the coalition nominees for administering the future cabinet.

“The coalition of the State of Law and the Iraqi National Alliance will take the final decision before the first session of the Iraqi parliament,” Dabbaq told FNA.

“Mr. Nuri al-Maliki has been introduced by the State of Law Coalition for taking the post of prime minister and the Iraqi National Alliance has its own candidate,” he added.

Referring to the trips taken by certain Iraqi officials to a number of Arab countries to rally support for their desired candidates, Dabbaq stressed that this will be only the Iraqi nation who will elect the prime minister and the new government and not any foreign country or element.

Noting that Baghdad is the only place in which the decision on the new prime minister will be taken, he viewed efforts by certain coalitions to receive the support of Arab countries as unacceptable and incorrect, and condemned other states’ interference in Iraq’s internal affairs.

Iraq had national elections March 7, giving the secular Iraqiya slate of former interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi a narrow victory over the State of Law coalition of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Neither of the leading slates secured the 163-seat majority needed to unilaterally form a new government, however.

State of Law has been in talks with the grand Shiite Iraqi National Alliance over a unified bloc, which would be four seats short of the ruling majority.

Talks between both sides have lingered over candidates for prime minister, however.

Bahaa al-Araji, a senior official in the Iraqi National Alliance (INA), told the Iraqi satellite channel al-Sumaria that both sides have settled on candidates for the position.

State of Law, he said, was sticking with Maliki for its candidate while INA is discussing former Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari and Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdul Mehdi.

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