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Maliki’s Adviser Says Alliance Has No Right to Present New PM

The Iraqi political coalition that put forward Haidar al-Abadi to replace caretaker Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki doesn’t have the legal right to do so, Maliki’s legal adviser said today.

Maliki denounced yesterday as unconstitutional President Fouad Masoum’s naming of Abadi, a member of Maliki’s Shiite Dawa Party, to replace him as premier after inconclusive elections. Maliki says the State of Law bloc, which includes Dawa, is parliament’s largest. His opponents formed a new bloc, the National Alliance, to present an alternative candidate, and they say they have more seats.

“The National Alliance, from a legal perspective, doesn’t exist,” Mariam al-Rayes, Maliki’s adviser, said in a telephone interview from Baghdad. “The State of Law is the largest bloc and the president is obliged, and has no choice in this, to ask the candidate of the bloc” to form a government.

Maliki ran in parliament under the State of Law bloc. Rayes said that under the constitution, a parliamentary bloc should be formed in parliament’s first session, which hadn’t been the case with the National Alliance.

She said Maliki had challenged Abadi’s nomination in federal court and would respect its decision.

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