Iraq parliament reappoints Talabani, Al-Maliki
Baghdad, November 12, 2010
Iraqi lawmakers voted to reappoint incumbent Jalal Talabani as president on Thursday and he nominated Nuri Al-Maliki to stay on as prime minister.
The two appointments were part of an agreement that ended an eight-month deadlock and took place despite a walkout by two-thirds of the MPs of former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc.
Earlier, lawmakers picked a Sunni politician, Osama Al-Nujaifi, as speaker of parliament.
The pact on top government posts brings together Shi'ites, Sunnis and Kurds in a power-sharing arrangement similar to the last Iraqi government and could help prevent a slide back into sectarian bloodshed.
Sunnis, dominant under Saddam Hussein, would have reacted with outrage had Allawi's alliance been excluded from government. Some may still feel cheated because of the appointment of Maliki, a Shi'ite.
The walkout by Iraqiya members was a sign of the turbulent relations among the partners in the new government.
Under the deal, other Iraqiya members will be given cabinet jobs, such as that of foreign minister. Allawi himself will head a council of strategic policies.
"Thank God last night we made a big achievement, which is considered a victory for all Iraqis," Kurdish regional president Masoud Barzani said at a news conference in Baghdad.
Opec member Iraq, trying to rebuild its oil industry after decades of war and economic sanctions and to quell a stubborn Sunni Islamist insurgency, has been without a new government since an election on March 7 failed to produce a clear winner.
"The most important issue now is that we are out of the bottleneck," said Amer al-Fayyadh, the dean of political science at Baghdad University.
The prime minister has 30 days to form a government.
Allawi pushed hard to displace Maliki as prime minister after Iraqiya won two seats more than Maliki's coalition in the vote. - Reuters