Leaders of Iraqi political parties have launched talks that could topple Nouri al-Maliki, after top Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani urged them to choose a new prime minister, a president and a new parliament speaker before the elected parliamentarians convene in Baghdad on Tuesday.
The major groups in Iraq called for the formation of a new government which will be prepared to fight armed militants and the Islamic State in Iraq and As-Sham (ISIS). The militant faction has crossed the border from Syria and controls major areas in northern and western Iraq including the cities of Mosul and Tikrit.
One Iraqi MP and former official in the government of the National Iraqi Alliance, commented, “The next three days are very important to reach an agreement and to push the political process forward.” The MP, who asked not to be named, said that he expected the various parties to hold internal meetings as well as a larger meeting this week with the National Alliance, a grouping which includes the State of Law Coalition led by Al-Maliki. Some of the Sunni parties are also scheduled to meet later today.
Al-Sistani made his appeal after the meeting of Shia factions, along with the State of Law Coalition, failed to agree on a candidate for prime minister.
Nouri Al-Maliki accuses his political opponents of trying to prevent the parliament from meeting on time and of exploiting violence to interfere in the political process. Speaking during a meeting with officials on Iraqi television he said that his opponents wanted to postpone the elections and are now working to postpone the parliament’s first meeting. He claimed that if they failed to get him to postpone, they will resort to inciting security incidents in Baghdad.