BAGHDAD, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- The secular Iraqiya slate won't take part in an Iraqi government led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a spokeswoman for the alliance said.
An Iraqi political party loyal to Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr announced Friday it was supporting a second term for Maliki. Sources last week told London's pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat that the deal came with certain concessions, however.
The move puts Maliki a few seats shy of the 163-seat majority needed to form a ruling coalition in the Iraqi government. Sadrists took about 10 percent of the seats in the March election, giving them significant political influence in Baghdad.
Washington, however, opposes giving too much influence to Sadrists. Sadr was the target of U.S. military action during the early stages of the Iraq war.
Iraqiya came out with a statement saying it wouldn't take part in a government led by Maliki. The secular slate, led by former interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, won the March election by two seats but fell well short of the majority needed to form a government alone.
Maysoon al-Damluji, the spokeswoman for Iraqiya, insisted the secular slate was given the right to form the government first under Iraqi laws.
Iraq broke a record Friday for the longest period between elections and forming a new government, beating a 207-day record set by the Netherlands in 1977.