Iraq’s eight months of political deadlock appeared to be coming to an end on Thursday after a complex agreement was reached between parties, paving the way for the formation of a new government.
Elected officials are set to convene Parliament later in the day to appoint a speaker, setting in motion the final steps towards a tentative power—sharing deal between Iraq’s multiple political, religious and ethnic groups.
It would be only the second session of parliament since the March elections, with the first session in July lasting less than 20 minutes.
Leading politicians from all major parties at a meeting late Wednesday in Baghdad appeared to have agreed to form a broad—based administration with Nuri al—Maliki, from the Shiite—led Dawa party, staying on as prime minister.
Politicians had agreed that “the presidency of Iraq will belong to a Kurd,” Massoud Barzani, president of the northern autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq, said in a televised address on Thursday morning.
Sources in the capital said former prime minister Iyad Allawi’s secular Iraqiya List, the largest party in parliament with 91 members, would get the foreign minister’s portfolio and most likely grab the role of speaker of parliament.
The Iraqiya List had nominated high—profile Sunni member Osama al— Nujaifi to take the post of speaker, Iraqiya spokesperson Haidar al— Mula said according to regional news network al—Jazeera.
Once a speaker is chosen, the parliament can move toward naming a new president, who would then have the job of appointing a prime minister, according to the country’s constitution.
Mr. Al—Maliki, who heads the broader Shiite—majority State of Law coalition, which won 89 of the 325 seats in elections in March, exuded confidence on Wednesday.
“We will not only experience the birth of a new government but even the beginning of the rebuilding of the Iraqi state,” he said.
However, al—Iraqiya, which had been hoping its leader Mr. Allawi would get the premiership still showed signs of dissatisfaction within its ranks as details of the power—sharing deal were released.
“We are the largest faction, according to the election results, and if the others have divided the positions among themselves, that would mean that democracy in Iraq is over,” said Mr. Abdul Qadir Mahdi, an Iraqiya List parliamentarian.
The party’s leadership was said to be meeting to discuss its final position on the power—sharing deal.
Iraq set a world record with its 249 days of failing to form a government.