BAGHDAD, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- Political players in Iraq should back the coalition that is best able to settle on a candidate for prime minister, the Iraqi vice president said.
Nearly seven months have passed since Iraq had elections to form a new government. The Iraqiya slate, led by former interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, won the contest by two seats but fell well short of the 163-seat majority needed to form a government alone.
Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi, himself a candidate for prime minister, said he was close to securing backing from a Shiite political alliance but was blocked by former Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari.
"Personally, I have learned to respect and appreciate those who object against or oppose me as much as I respect those who support and work with me," he told London's pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat.
Iraqiya said that it has the constitutional authority to have the first crack at forming a new government. The vice president agreed but said the issue was more of a matter of ability.
"All eyes should focus on the bloc that is capable of putting forward such a candidate, not on the (constitutional) procedures," he said.