- Title: IRAQ: Iraq's ruling Shi'ite Alliance nominate Jawad al-Maliki for prime minister.
- Date: 23rd April 2006
- Summary: REPORTERS
- Embargoed: 8th May 2006 13:00
- Location: Iraq
- Country: Iraq
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVAAHZ0CCOGKBG69VZYMKJY9CGBI
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Iraq's ruling Shi'ite Alliance nominated Jawad al-Maliki for prime minister on Friday (April 21), winning support from the main Sunni Arab bloc and raising a possible end to a four-month deadlock over forming a coalition government.
No reaction was available from the Kurdish alliance, whose support would be key to a national unity government that Washington hopes can avert any slide towards a sectarian civil war and draw Sunni Arab insurgents into the political process.
Maliki, a leader in the Dawa party who spent years living in Shi'ite-dominated Iran during Saddam Hussein's rule, had previously been seen as an unlikely candidate for prime minister because he was widely viewed as a sectarian politician.
"When we heard Maliki was nominated we held discussions and decided we welcome him and we have informed the (Shi'ite) Alliance," Iyad al-Samarraie, a leading official in the Iraqi Accordance Front, the main Sunni bloc, told Reuters.
"We know he has made tough statements in the past but we have sat down with him for long periods of time and we feel he has a strong intention to treat the problems facing Iraq."
Shi'ite Alliance officials said Maliki won six out of seven votes in the bloc for the nomination, on the the eve of a parliamentary session on Saturday -- only the second time the chamber has sat since December elections because of the impasse.
The Shi'ite Alliance's original choice for the job, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, signalled in a televised speech on Thursday he was ready to step aside at the request of the bloc after resisting widespread calls for his resignation for months.
Critics accused Jaafari of monopolising power, pursuing sectarian policies and failing to curb raging violence, charges he denied.
If Maliki, who is close to Jaafari, wins support from all political alliances, he will face a tough job tackling the insurgency, easing sectarian strife and rescuing the oil-rich country's economy, which has been starved of foreign investment.
Parliament is widely expected on Saturday to start choosing a speaker and a presidential council, which must put the nominee for prime minister to an assembly vote.
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