The State of Law coalition led by Maliki won the largest number of seats in the recent legislative election but fell short of a clear majority, according to preliminary results announced on Monday.
The prime minister called on other political parties to “open up” to his bloc and move to form a government.
But his desire to serve a third term as prime minister is facing opposition from potential coalition partners.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on Tuesday, an MP with the Sadrist Movement, Hakim Al-Zamili, spoke of a potential restructuring of the National Iraqi Alliance that helped bring Maliki to a second term as prime minister in 2010, but which fell apart in the run up to this years’ poll.
Zamili said that the three main members—Maliki’s State of Law, the Sadrist parties and the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI)—were working to reform the National Alliance and make it a “strong and coherent institution.”
He added that it would have no impact on the unity of the other parties if the State of Law opts out of the Alliance if Maliki is not nominated as its candidate for the premiership.
“It will not be affected by any party’s departure, even if they managed to come up with a majority and formed a government with other parties,” Zamili said.
He said the Sadrists had decided on “different characteristics” they would look for in the next prime minister, saying that Maliki would have to compete for the post against candidates from the other National Alliance members.
Zamili’s remarks followed a statement by Maliki in which he seemed to rule out any chance of a government being formed under the leadership of either a Sadrist or a follower of Ammar Al-Hakim, the head of the ISCI.
“I call on the winners [of seats] in the elections to open up to the State of Law and move to hold a parliamentary session to form a majority government—a majority based on an understanding on [political] platforms,” Maliki said in a news conference in Baghdad following the announcement of the initial results.
Maliki said that the “largest component” of the National Alliance—his own State of Law coalition—would nominate the new head of government, in an indication that he is seeking a third term in office.
Maliki and Hakim have clashed over the latter’s calls for a restructuring of the National Alliance, which the prime minister has rejected.