BAGHDAD,(Reuters) – Iraq’s Shi’ite Alliance has nominated Jawad al-Maliki as its new choice for prime minister, a senior official in the bloc and a television station run by it said on Friday.
Maliki is close to Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who was the Alliance’s original choice for the job but who dropped his insistence to run for a second term after months of opposition that deadlocked the formation of a new government.
Maliki had earlier been seen as an unlikely candidate because he is perceived as a sectarian politician who would have trouble gaining the trust of Sunni Arabs and Kurdish political blocs.
Iraqi legislators were scheduled to meet in parliament on Saturday in hopes of breaking a deadlock four months after elections in December.
The Shi’ite Alliance is the largest bloc in parliament. It was not immediately clear if Sunni Arabs and Kurds would back Maliki as Iraq’s next prime minister.
Washington hopes that a deal on a national unity government can avert a full-scale sectarian civil war and draw Arab Sunni insurgents into the political process.