Iraqi parties confirm commitment to power-sharing deal

Senior political leaders attend a meeting before a session at the Parliament headquarters in Baghdad, November 13, 2010 Senior political leaders agreed to resolve their differences ahead of the parliamentary session

Iraq's main Sunni-backed alliance has said it is committed to implementing a power-sharing deal, saying an earlier walk-out from parliament was a "misunderstanding".

A deal giving PM Nouri Maliki a second term was signed on Wednesday but looked less certain after the walk-out.

Leaders of the key blocs met before Saturday's parliamentary session and agreed to resolve outstanding issues.

Iraq has been in political deadlock since elections were held in March.

The al-Iraqiyya alliance, led by ex-premier Iyad Allawi, came out two seats ahead of Mr Maliki's State of Law coalition in those elections.

But it was Mr Maliki who gathered enough support from other parties for a parliamentary majority and in the end reached a deal with Mr Allawi on a "national partnership" government.

That looked in doubt after Mr Allawi and his allies stormed out of parliament on Thursday, claiming the agreement had been breached.

It is understood that al-Iraqiyya had wanted three of its senior members, who were barred from running in the March poll, to be formally reinstated before the vote was held to elect the president.

On Friday, Mr Allawi declared the concept of power-sharing "dead and finished".

Sunni speaker

BBC correspondent in Baghdad, Jim Muir, says there has obviously been a lot going on behind the scenes to soothe the ruffled feathers.

Iraq government deadlock

  • March: Elections give two-seat lead to former PM Iyad Allawi - not enough to form a government
  • June: Parliament meets for 20 minutes, MPs sworn in but delay formal return to work to give time for coalition talks
  • August: Iraq's Supreme Court orders parliament to re-convene
  • November: power-sharing deal agreed. Shia bloc to get PM's job, Sunnis to get speaker plus new role for Mr Allawi. Kurds keep presidency.

Al-Iraqiyya spokesman Haidar al-Mullah told parliament in the latest session that the walk-out had been a "misunderstanding".

He said that all parties were committed to implementing the agreement.

Under the power-sharing deal, Mr Maliki, a Shia, and President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, keep their jobs and the post of parliamentary speaker goes to a Sunni Arab. Osama al-Nujaifi, from Mr Allawi's alliance, was chosen on Thursday.

The agreement also establishes a new statutory body to oversee security - the National Council for Strategic Policies - which is due to be headed by Mr Allawi.

Parliament is now expected to adjourn till after the holiday break for the Eid al-Adha.

President Talabani will then officially designate Mr Maliki to form a government, and he will have a deadline of 30 days to complete that task.

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