LONDON (Reuters) – The leader of the Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc could leave power-sharing talks on forming Iraq’s next government and lead the opposition, he was quoted as telling a British newspaper Wednesday.
In an interview with Britain’s Guardian newspaper, Iyad Allawi said he does not believe a deal to form a national unity government with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and other rivals can work.
Iraq has been without a new government since a March 7 election failed to produce a clear winner, leaving Shi’ite Muslim, Sunni Arab and Kurdish politicians jockeying for power.
“I have come to accept that opposition is a real option for us,” said Allawi, whose cross-sectarian bloc won the most votes in Iraq’s general election but did not win an outright majority in parliament.
“We are in the final days of making a final decision on this issue,” the former prime minister said.
The lack of a government has sparked concerns of a rise in violence just as the sectarian strife triggered after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion recedes and U.S. forces scale back their presence ahead of a full withdrawal next year.
A series of bombs rocked mainly Shi’ite areas of Baghdad on Tuesday, killing at least 40 people and wounding dozens two days after al Qaeda militants staged a bloodbath when they took hostages in a Christian church.
“We are not ready to be a false witness to history by signing up to something that we don’t believe can work,” Allawi said, in reference to a mooted plan to give him executive powers equal to those of the prime minister, according to the paper.