Thursday, April 20, 2006

FT.com / World / Middle East & Africa - Iraqi PM's climbdown helps ease deadlock

FT.com / World / Middle East & Africa - Iraqi PM's climbdown helps ease deadlock:

By Steve Negus, Iraq correspondent

The Iraqi prime minister-designate Ibrahim al-Jaafari yesterday opened the way to the formation of a new government by agreeing to let his Shia allies reconsider his candidacy.

Mr Jaafari, the candidate of the Shia-led United Iraqi Alliance, the largest group in parliament following December's elections, had become a major stumbling block to the creation of a national unity government, with both Kurdish and Sunni political leaders opposed to his candidacy.

As late as Wednesday, Mr Jaafari - who won the nomination by a single vote in February - had insisted that he would remain in his post as prime minister despite the growing calls for him to step down from not just from Kurds and Sunni but also secularists, and even some fellow UIA members."

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