Breaking

Tweet TWEET

Iraqi Shiite Groups Delay Premiership Discussion Until After Eid Holiday

The two Shiite groups that together form the biggest bloc in the Iraqi parliament won’t continue discussions to select a candidate for the premiership until after Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday marking the end of the month of Ramadan, state-sponsored al-Iraqiyah television said.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s State of Law group and the Iraqi National Alliance merged after the March 7 parliamentary elections to form the National Alliance. The union brings their combined total of seats in the 325-member legislature to 159, four short of the number needed to form a government.

The National Alliance’s failure so far to agree on a sole candidate for the premiership has contributed to a six-month political stalemate since the vote. No group won enough seats to form a government without joining allies in a coalition.

State of Law wants al-Maliki to be the National Alliance’s candidate. The INA, which includes followers of anti-U.S. cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council, is backing Adel Abdel Mahdi, one of two vice presidents. The bloc has said it will hold a vote to select one of the two leaders.

Talks on finding a mechanism to hold the candidacy ballot are continuing, according to a report in the London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper today. The alliance’s components also disagree on a compromise candidate, should neither al-Maliki nor Abdel Mahdi gain enough support, the Saudi-owned paper said.

The three-day Eid al-Fitr festivities may begin tomorrow or the day after, depending on when the new moon is sighted.

To contact the reporter on this story: Caroline Alexander in London at calexander1@bloomberg.net.

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.