BAGHDAD, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Talks between a party loyal to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the secular Iraqiya slate on a new government are suspended, a spokesman said.
Iraq is still without a new government more than five months after voters handed Iraqiya a two-seat victory in March 7 elections for Council of Representatives. The victory was not large enough, however, for Iraqiya to form a new government alone, and lawmakers have been at odds over top Cabinet posts, including prime minister.
Iraqiya officials told the BBC talks with the Shiite prime minister on a possible coalition government collapsed because Maliki said Iraqiya was represented by Iraqi Sunnis.
Meanwhile, London's pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat cites "informed sources" from a major Shiite alliance in Iraq as saying Maliki is no longer considered as a candidate for prime minister.
Maliki insists he is the best candidate for the job. The source said that Maliki's primary political party, Dawa, has decided to move forward with another as-yet named candidate for prime minister, however.
"We are waiting for an official announcement on this subject before we announce our position on it," the Shiite source said.
Iraqiya, led by former interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, said Iraqi law gives it the right to form the new government because it was the winner in the elections.