Iraq PM expects new govt by mid-December

BAGHDAD — Iraq’s new government should be in place by mid-December, putting an end to a months-long political impasse, Prime Minister-designate Nuri Al Maliki said on Saturday.

By (AFP)

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Published: Sat 27 Nov 2010, 6:39 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:19 AM

Maliki’s remarks came two days after he was awarded a second term in the top job by President Jalal Talabani and given 30 days to form a cabinet, following a power-sharing deal that was agreed earlier this month.

‘My timetable is, mid-December I can form a government,’ he told reporters at a news conference in Baghdad.

‘Until now, there has been no agreement between the blocs about the ministerial portfolios.’

He added: ‘The fears of delay of forming the government are legitimate, because if the cabinet is not formed within the time limit, God only knows what will happen and what direction the country will go in.’

The re-selection of Talabani, a Kurd, and Maliki, a Shia, to their posts and the naming of a Sunni Arab as speaker of parliament came after a power-sharing pact was agreed on November 10.

It also established a new statutory body to oversee security as a sop to ex-premier Iyad Allawi, who had held out for months to regain the top job after his Iraqiya bloc narrowly won the most seats in the March 7 election.

The support of Iraqiya, which garnered most of its seats in Sunni areas of the predominantly Shia country, is widely seen as vital to preventing a resurgence of inter-confessional violence.

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

Asked if Iraqiya would fully participate in the government, Maliki replied: ‘I think they will participate, we have dialogue with them, but if any party does not want to participate, we will go on.’

‘We hope that Iraqiya will take part as a whole, and that they agree to nominate the ministries they want.’

Despite being lauded by international leaders including US President Barack Obama, the power-sharing pact has looked fragile ever since being agreed.

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