BAGHDAD, (Reuters) – Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Saturday he would form a government by mid-December that would incorporate all political factions, including rival Iyad Allawi’s Iraqiya bloc.
President Jalal Talabani formally asked Maliki on Thursday to form a government, giving him 30 days to choose a cabinet from fractious Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish political factions.
“I will not let time go by until the period ends. I have a time ceiling that doesn’t exceed between the 10th and the 15th of next month,” Maliki said at a news conference in Baghdad, his first since being formally appointed.
Maliki, a Shi’ite, won a second term as prime minister in a power-sharing deal reached with rivals on November 10 that gave the presidency to Talabani, a Kurd, and named Iraqiya lawmaker Osama al-Nujaifi, a Sunni, to the post of speaker of parliament.
Maliki said the Sunni-backed, cross-sectarian Iraqiya bloc would be a main partner in the new government, whether Allawi participated or not.
The power-sharing deal gave Allawi, who wanted Maliki’s job, the leadership of a yet-to-be-created council for strategic policies.
Allawi, a former prime minister, has since criticised the deal, which ended an eight-month impasse following a March parliamentary election that failed to produce a clear winner.
“The non-participation of a person doesn’t stop the cycle of forming the government … we will welcome anyone who wants to be a partner,” Maliki said. “Iraqiya will be a main partner in forming the government.”