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Iraqi VP new pick for prime minister?

Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi attends the funeral of a victim killed in a bomb attack in Baghdad's Karrada district September 29, 2008. Four bombs killed at least 32 people and wounded scores in busy districts of Baghdad on Sunday as Iraqis shopped and broke their fast for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, police said. (UPI Photo/Ali Jasim)
Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi attends the funeral of a victim killed in a bomb attack in Baghdad's Karrada district September 29, 2008. Four bombs killed at least 32 people and wounded scores in busy districts of Baghdad on Sunday as Iraqis shopped and broke their fast for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, police said. (UPI Photo/Ali Jasim) | License Photo

BAGHDAD, June 16 (UPI) -- An announcement to nominate Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi as the next prime minister will be made soon, a member of the Iraqi National Alliance said.

The Iraqi Council of Representatives had its first session Monday since a March 7 election to pick a new government.

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The secular Iraqiya coalition of former interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi narrowly defeated the State of Law slate of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, though neither party secured the 163-seat majority needed to unilaterally form a new government.

State of Law last week announced it formed a coalition with the Iraqi National Alliance that is four seats short of the majority.

State of Law officials said last week the choice for prime minister for the grand Shiite alliance had narrowed to Maliki and Abdul-Mahdi.

A leading figure in the INA told London's pan-Arab daily newspaper Asharq al-Awsat that the vice president now topped the list.

The senior official said presenting Abdul-Mahdi as the consensus candidate is "now certain" because he is widely accepted, adding, "the official announcement of (his) candidacy will be made soon."

Iraqiya said it was opposed to the announcement of the grand Shiite slate, complaining it came into being after the election. The INA source told the newspaper, however, that the vice president was the best choice for consensus building across the various Iraqi political alliances.

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