Maliki inches closer to ruling majority

Nov. 2, 2010 at 12:05 PM
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BAGHDAD, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- A small Shiite political party in Iraq announced its support for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, putting the incumbent closer to a ruling coalition.

Maliki's State of Law coalition placed second in March parliamentary elections with 89 seats. He gained further support after a "fraternal and friendly" conversation with members of the Islamic Virtue Party backing the incumbent, the Voices of Iraq news agency reported.

Maliki following his meeting with leaders of the Islamic Virtue party said the current parliament would meet "in a few days" to assign new state leaders.

The prime minister still needs more than a dozen seats in parliament to reach the 163-seat threshold needed to form a ruling coalition.

Iraqiya, which won the election with 91 seats, claims that it has the legal authority to move first on a national government, though it is behind Maliki in gathering a majority.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said Tuesday that reports he would step aside to give Iraqiya leader and former interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi his position were inaccurate.

Baghdad has gone nearly eight months without a new government, a modern-day record.

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