End to Iraq's political impasse in sight
Iraq's eight months of political deadlock appeared to be coming to an end after an agreement was reached to form a new government.
A meeting of leading politicians from all parties late Wednesday in Baghdad appeared to have agreed to form a broad-based administration with Nuri al-Maliki remaining as prime minister, DPA reported.
Parliament was due to meet in Baghdad Thursday to complete the process of forming the new government, al-Maliki said Wednesday.
Party sources in the capital said the secular Iraqiya List of former prime minister Iyad Allawi, which is the largest party in parliament with 91 members, would get the post of foreign minister.
The most difficult issues have been settled, the Kurdish politician Rose Nuri Shaways said, adding that a national political council would be formed to involve all groups in future discussions.
Religious Shiite parties and Kurdish parties were reportedly looking for a Sunni for the post of parliament speaker.
If a speaker is chosen Thursday, it would be the first step toward naming a new state president. The president would then propose a prime minister, according to the constitution.
The Kurdish parties insisted that Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, remain state president, which appeared set to happen.
Al-Maliki, whose Shiite State of Law Coalition won 89 of the 325 seats in elections in March, exuded confidence Wednesday. "We will not only experience the birth of a new government but even the beginning of the rebuilding of the Iraqi state," he said.
Abdul Qadir Mahdi, a member of parliament for the Iraqiya List, said, "We are the largest faction, according to the election results, and if the others have divided the positions among themselves, that would mean that democracy in Iraq is over."
That would lead the country to a massive confrontation, he said.
The political jostling to form a new government has been ongoing since the country's parliamentary elections were held March 7.