Al-Maliki renominated as Iraqi prime minister

November 26, 2010

By Ben Birnbaum-The Washington Times

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani formally renominated Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to his post Thursday, giving him 30 days to assemble a government.

“It will be a government of partnership,” Mr. al-Maliki, a Shiite who has been prime minister since 2006, said in a televised ceremony. “Nobody will be neglected.”

The long-awaited action helps imbed the democratic principle in the country that the U.S. invaded in 2003 and from which the U.S. is preparing to remove all of its troops by the end of 2011. U.S. combat troops were removed in August, even as Iraq‘s major political players dickered over forming the next government.

Iraq‘s political blocs reached a framework agreement this month, eight months after elections to decide the makeup of the 325-member Council of Representatives.

In the March 7 vote, Mr. al-Maliki‘s State of Law coalition won 89 seats, while the Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc — led by former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, a secular Shiite — won 91.

The sectarian Iraqi National Alliance — a coalition of Shiite parties — won 70 seats, 40 of them belonging to the followers of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. The main Kurdish alliancewon 43 seats, and three smaller Kurdish parties gained 14.

The fragmented outcome set off months of high drama as Mr. al-Maliki and Mr. Allawi each staked claims to the prime minister’s post.

But the incumbent’s postelection alliance with his erstwhile partners in the Iraqi National Alliance, with whom he split before the vote — as well as the Sadrists’ recent acquiescence to his renomination — ultimately gave him the upper hand.

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