Iraq lawmakers resume forming government

Iraq President is expected to officially name Nuri al-Maliki as PM-designate.

Baghdad: Iraq`s lawmakers will on Sunday get back to the task of forming a new government after talks following a landmark power-sharing deal were interrupted by the Muslim holiday of Eid.

Newly re-elected President Jalal Talabani is expected to officially name incumbent premier Nuri al-Maliki as prime minister-designate, giving him 30 days to form a cabinet and finally bring to an end months of impasse following inconclusive elections in March.

Sunday`s scheduled session of Parliament, due to open at 11:00 am (0800 GMT), was to focus on the formation of the Council of Representatives` committees and the chamber`s regulations, a parliamentary official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

It comes after a power-sharing pact was agreed earlier this month and lauded by international leaders including US President Barack Obama, though the agreement has looked fragile ever since.

The deal called for Maliki, a Shi`ite, and Talabani, a Kurd, to keep their jobs and for a Sunni Arab to selected speaker of parliament.

It also established a new statutory body to oversee security as a sop to Iyad Allawi, who had held out for months to regain the post of premier after his Iraqiya bloc narrowly won the most seats in the March 07 poll.

The support of Iraqiya, which garnered most of its seats in Sunni areas, is widely seen as vital to preventing a resurgence of inter-confessional violence.

The Sunni Arab minority that dominated Saddam Hussein`s regime was the bedrock of the anti-US insurgency after the 2003 invasion.

In a sign of the tenuousness of the accord, around 60 Iraqiya MPs walked out of a session of Parliament on November 11, the day after the deal was signed, protesting that it was not being honoured.

The bloc`s MPs had wanted three of its senior members, barred before the election for their alleged ties to Saddam Hussein`s banned Baath party, to be reinstated immediately.

Two days later, however, Iraq`s lawmakers appeared to have salvaged the deal after leaders from the country`s three main parties met and agreed to reconcile and address the MPs` protests.

Bureau Report