Iraq's main rivals make second meeting since polls

18:35, June 30, 2010      

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The leaders of two rival Iraqi political blocs held their second meeting since the March 7 parliamentary elections in an attempt to resolve the country's political deadlock, a politician said of Wednesday.

Outgoing Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, head of State of Law coalition and ex-premier Ayad Allawi, head of secular Iraqia List, made a brief meeting on Tuesday evening at Allawi's residence at the edge of the Green Zone which houses some of the Iraqi government offices and foreign embassies, including the U.S. one.

"The meeting was short and was an exchange of points of view," a politician from Allawi's Iraqia List told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

"The two leaders talked about the necessity that all parties should take part in the next government," he said.

Observers here see that the meeting did not show any sign of breakthrough over the bitter political argument over who will have the right to run Iraq's next government despite the warmly shake hands by the two rivals before the closed-door meeting.

Allawi's secular list won the most 91 seats in the March 7 parliamentary elections, two seats more than the State of Law alliance led by al-Maliki.

After the announcement of Allawi's victory in the preliminary results late March, the Iraqi federal court gave an interpretation to the expression of "largest bloc" in the disputed article 76 of the constitution, saying it means the largest number of seats for either the bloc that wins the elections or the coalition of blocs that could be formed before the first session of the new parliament.

The court's interpretation gave the green light for al-Maliki to join the Shiite religious bloc of INA, which garnered 70 seats of the 325-seat parliament, to form the largest bloc with a combined 159 seats.

However, Allawi's Iraqia List rejected the interpretation, saying the court is not qualified to interpret the constitution.

Allawi has said the interpretation was non-binding and politically motivated and that the "largest bloc" means the bloc which garners the highest number of seats by polls.

On June 14, the new Iraqi parliament held its first session which only lasted about 20 minutes and was adjourned until further notice to give the political blocs more time to agree on the main posts and the government formation.



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