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Iraq's PM Asked to Form New Government

Source: VOA

Nouri al-Maliki

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has officially asked Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to form a new government, part of a deal to end an eight-month political stalemate.

President Talabani issued the formal request Thursday, giving Mr. Maliki 30 days to complete the challenge of choosing a Cabinet.

Speaking at a ceremony at the presidential palace in Baghdad, the prime minister called on Iraq's people and politicians of all religions, sects and nationalities to overcome the disputes of the past and open a new page.

The president's announcement comes two weeks after Iraq's Shi'ite, Kurdish and Sunni political leaders reached a power-sharing deal that put Mr. Maliki on track for a second term.

President Talabani was to have named Mr. Maliki as prime minister last Sunday, but delayed the decision to give the incumbent more time to negotiate ministerial posts.

If Mr. Maliki fails to produce a new government within a month, the constitution requires the president to nominate another candidate.

The re-selection of Mr. Talabani, a longtime Kurdish leader, and the naming of a Sunni Arab, Osama al-Nujaifi, as speaker of parliament were also part of the November 10 power-sharing pact.

The accord also calls for former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, head of the Sunni-backed Iraqiya coalition, to head a newly created committee overseeing national security, the National Council for Strategic Policies.

Mr. Allawi's alliance won the most seats in the country's inconclusive elections in March but was unable to gain enough support from other parties to create a majority coalition.

Iraqiya's inability to find political partners allowed Mr. Maliki, who partnered with anti-American Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in an Iranian-backed coalition, to gain momentum and support.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

... Payvand News - 11/25/10 ... --

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