Al-Maliki hits hurdle in efforts to form Iraqi government
Former prime minister Iyad Allawi's Sunni-backed bloc on Friday backed Adel Abdul-Mahdi, Iraq's Shiite vice-president, to form a government, a blow to efforts by Shiite incumbent Premier Nuri al-Maliki's to form a ruling coalition, dpa reported.
Nearly six months have passed since Iraqis went to the polls, but talks between the main political blocs remain in disarray amid disagreement over who should head the new government.
No group won an outright majority in the March 7 election and all attempts to form a ruling coalition have failed. Allawi's Iraqiya List and al-Maliki's State of Law coalition were the top vote- getters, but neither has been able to sign on enough support to claim the right to form a government.
The new 325-member parliament has since held only one session, which lasted just 20 minutes.
In Karbala, a Shiite holy city 80 kilometres south of Baghdad, influential Shiite Cleric Abdel Mahdi al-Karbalai told thousands of worshippers that there were "glimmers of hope" and "signs of a breakthrough" in Iraqi politics.
He called on all political blocs to "build bridges of trust and mutual understanding to generate confidence in order to form a government."