Iraq Political Deadlock Ends, Al-Maliki Stays as PM

Baghdad_Convention_CenterPrime Minister Nuri al-Maliki will continue to lead the Iraqi Parliament after lawmakers from opposing parties reached a compromise to end a months-long political deadlock.

Leaders of the country’s ethnic and religious factions approved a tentative deal that includes keeping al-Maliki as head of government, ending a political crisis that began after former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi’s group won the most parliament seats in elections held in March. Officials said the deal was reached after Allawi’s Iraqiya bloc agreed to join the unity government in exchange for significant positions including the Parliament speakership and leadership in sensitive committees such as one that oversees national security.

Also agreed upon by political leaders was a decision to keep President Jalal Talabani. However, Allawi’s role in the new government is still unclear. Also remains to be seen is the role of influential anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose support helped al-Maliki remain in power despite unfavorable election results. Parliament will meet on Thursday for only the second time since the tightly contested elections.