Iraqi PM unlikely to form govt until year’s end

Iraq’s prime minister said he’s still seeking Cabinet nominations from the country’s top politicians, signaling he likely will not form a new government much earlier than the Dec. 25 deadline.

By (AP)

Published: Sun 12 Dec 2010, 1:25 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 6:01 AM

Nouri Al Maliki, a Shia Muslim, had pledged to announce his new government by Dec. 15 and end the political deadlock that began after parliamentary elections in March failed to produce a clear winner. The delay announced Saturday reflects Al Maliki’s struggle to cobble together an inclusive government.

But Al Maliki assured political leaders Saturday that he remains committed to meeting a 30-day constitutional deadline — ending Dec. 25 — to bring together Shia, Sunni and Kurdish factions in a government that can overcome enduring sectarian tensions, and appealed for their help to do so.

‘I call upon all blocs to quickly present their candidates,’ Al Maliki said at a meeting of the Kurdish Democratic Party, promising to announce Iraq’s new leadership by Dec. 25.

He also warned politicians not to get distracted with ‘marginal issues’ since the clock is ticking. ‘We are facing a constitutional deadline and we will not tolerate exceeding it,’ he said.

Saturday’s meeting in Irbil, the capital of the Kurdish autonomous region in Iraq’s north, was also attended by Sunni and Shia Arab politicians with whom Al Maliki has had to create uneasy alliances after his political party fell short of winning a majority of seats in parliament.

The new government is expected to include all the major factions, including the Kurds, Shia political parties aligned with Iran and a Sunni-backed bloc that narrowly won the election.

It will have a slew of issues to tackle, including developing the struggling economy and preventing a resurgence of violence as the last American troops leave by the end of next year.

Also Saturday, an off-duty policeman was killed in a drive-by shooting in the northern city of Mosul, police and hospital officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

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