May 4, 2010

Iraq’s two big Shi’ite political coalitions, one led by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and one whose leaders have close ties to Iran, agreed on Tuesday on an alliance to form a single bloc in parliament, officials said.

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But the two groups have not yet agreed on the contentious issue of a nominee for prime minister, the major stumbling block in talks so far, an official with Maliki’s State of Law said.

The announcement, nearly two months after a parliamentary election Iraqis hoped would bring stability after years of war, could signify a breakthrough in stalled negotiations to form the next government amid fears of renewed sectarian violence.

But the union of Maliki’s State of Law, which took 89 seats in the March 7 parliamentary election, and the Iraqi National Alliance which won 70, could also heighten tension.


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