Iraq's Talabani upbeat on new government

Nov. 22, 2010 at 3:18 PM
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PARIS, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- There is a consensus on a national unity government in Iraq, leaving only the distribution of ministers left as an obstacle, the Iraqi president said.

Iraq agreed Nov. 10 to a power-sharing deal that divides power among Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds. Shiite Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki secured a second term through a nomination process in the Iraqi Parliament after lawmakers nominated Osama al-Nujaifi, a Sunni member of the Iraqiya slate as the speaker. Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, retains his position as president of Iraq.

Iyad Allawi, the leader of Iraqiya, walked out of the Nov. 11 parliamentary session following concerns over issues related to the outlawed Baath Party.

Talabani in an interview with London's pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat said the top nominations were final and a new government was expected soon.

"We expect the government to see the light within one month, God willing," he said.

The Nov. 10 agreement ended eight months of political deadlock in Iraq. Talabani, however, said the impasse was technically only five months because the first three months were spent on legal measures and ratifying the results of the inconclusive vote.

Allawi led Iraqiya to a two-seat victory over Maliki's State of Law coalition, though both fell well short of the 163-seat majority needed to form a new government alone.

"What remains is agreeing on the distribution of the ministerial portfolios," the Iraqi president said.

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