Maliki only four seats shy of premiership
An alliance of Iraq's Shia political blocs has chosen incumbent Nouri al-Maliki as its candidate for the premiership, officials from the State of Law coalition say, Press TV reported.
The decision by the newly-formed National Alliance (NA) - a merger of Maliki's Shia-led State of Law coalition and the Iraqi National Alliance (INA) -- clears the way for an end to the country's nearly seven-month political deadlock.
Sources said the nomination was agreed by Maliki's State of Law and the Sadrist political movement led by Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr as well as smaller factions of the NA after months of negotiations.
"We have nominated Maliki as the candidate of the National Alliance," Ali al-Adeeb, a senior member of Maliki's Dawa party told Reuters on Friday. A formal announcement has yet to be made.
The National Alliance had earlier proposed former vice-president Adel Abdol-Mahdi as its candidate for the post.
With State of Law's 89 and INA's 70 seats, the National Alliance is just four seats short of the 163 needed for a governing majority.
Former premier Iyad Allawi's al-Iraqiya coalition, which won a plurality of 91 seats in the May elections, has said it will not participate in a government headed by Maliki.