Meeting of Iraqi rivals ends without resolving differences
A meeting between the heads of Iraq's two rival parliamentary blocs Tuesday ended without resolving their differences over who should fill the three top posts in the government, a lawmaker said, dpa reported.
The third meeting since the March 7 parliamentary elections, between Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and his main rival, former premier Iyad Allawi, did not produce any new results as was hoped by some parliamentarians.
The main differences were settling the nominees for prime minister, president and speaker of parliament.
"Nothing is new," Haidar al-Mulla, a lawmaker of Iraqiya List said. "The two leaders are sticking to there stances, and nominees for the top three posts were not settled."
He said, however, that they agreed to solve the crisis as soon as possible.
Political tensions have followed the outcome of the election for the 325-member parliament in which Allawi's Iraqiya List won 91 seats, compared to 89 for al-Maliki's State of Law coalition. The National Iraqi Alliance came in third with 70 seats.
Both Allawi and al-Maliki are competing to head the future government. Allawi insists he should be in charge because his bloc won the highest number of seats.
But al-Maliki says he has the largest bloc in the parliament with 159 deputies, after forming the National Alliance with Ammar al-Hakim's Iraqi National List. That total, however, is still four seats short of a majority.
The new parliament held its first session earlier in June, three months after the elections, but the session adjourned after 20 minutes and they have not met since. On Monday, the heads of the blocs met inconclusively to discuss the new government and resuming parliamentary sessions.
Tuesday's meeting also comes one day after Allawi met with Iranian-backed Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr in Damascus.
The meeting was the first ever between Allawi and al-Sadr, whose bloc is part of the Iraqi National List.
After the meeting, al-Sadr said he was ready to end all his disagreements with Iraqi politicians for the benefit of the country, adding that Allawi's bloc was "ready to make concessions to put an end to Iraq's political crisis."