Iraq PM Maliki stays in power for second term with help of tentative deal

Baghdad (Iraq), Nov.11 (ANI): Iraq Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki will remain the country's Prime Minister for a second term, thanks to leaders reaching a tentative agreement late Wednesday night to create a unity government embracing the country's major ethnic and religious factions, ending an eight-month political impasse.

According to the New York Times, the agreement assures, for now at least, the participation of Sunni Arabs, who supported the bloc led by Maliki's chief rival, Ayad Allawi, which narrowly won the most seats in the March election.

The deal was struck when Allawi's group relented and agreed to join the new government, said Jaber al-Jaberi, one of Allawi's chief allies, despite months of adamantly insisting it would never do so.

In exchange, Allawi's bloc, called Iraqiya, was given the position of speaker of the Parliament as well as leadership of a newly created committee overseeing national security, officials from three factions said.

The creation of the committee was a compromise pushed by the Obama administration to ensure the participation of Sunnis, Iraq's former rulers, who have been underrepresented in the Iraqi government since the American invasion.

More details will be filled in on Thursday when the country's new Parliament is scheduled to meet, for only the second time since the election, to ratify the agreement.

The agreement is being seen as a victory for Maliki, who has proven a forceful and wily politician, unwavering in his determination to remain in office.

Now, it is to be seen how Maliki manages the unwieldy alliance, given the rivalries that exist among various factions, including a bitter historical opposition between Maliki and Sadr. (ANI)

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