BAGHDAD, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- Washington should recognize that the rule of law in Iraq means the secular Iraqiya slate has the right to form a new government first, a party leader said.
The Iraqiya slate narrowly defeated the State of Law coalition of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in national elections March 7. None of the top vote-getters secured the clear majority needed to form a government alone, however.
A delegation of top U.S. officials traveled to Iraq in July to push the political process forward. Washington wanted to see a power-sharing agreement with Maliki and former interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, who leads the secular Iraqiya slate.
Mohammed Allawi, who met with the U.S. team as a negotiator for Iraqiya, told London's pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat that the proposal didn't meet his expectations.
He said he told the U.S. officials that Iraqiya wouldn't cooperate with Maliki "because we do not want to violate the Iraqi constitution."
He said his party was in talks with rival Shiite and Kurdish alliances on getting enough support to form a new government. He added, however, that it was unlikely to happen before U.S. combat forces start preparing to leave Iraq.
"The American delegation came with an agenda to urge the Iraqi leaders to form a government before the month of Ramadan, and we consider this to be impossible," he said.
Ramadan begins Aug. 11 and ends Sept. 9