Iraq’s PM could call early elections
Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki called for early elections. (Reuters)


Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Wednesday warned he will call for early elections if other political parties refuse to negotiate to end a deadlock over power-sharing that has crippled the government.

“If the other party refuses to sit at the negotiating table and insists on creating crises after crisis..., then the prime minister finds himself compelled to call early elections,” a statement from the prime minister’s office said.

A government spokesman said it was not an immediate call for early elections, but a signal from Maliki to other political parties to negotiate over the crisis or face an early ballot.

Iraq has been hit by a series of intertwined political crises that began in mid-December with accusations by the secular Iraqiya bloc that Maliki was concentrating power in his hands and have escalated into calls to unseat him.

An effort to persuade President Jalal Talabani to call for a no-confidence vote stalled earlier this month when he said that Maliki’s opponents lacked the votes to oust him.

That decision meant the only way Maliki’s opponents could press their drive for a no-confidence motion was by requesting he be present before parliament and then holding the vote.

Parliament speaker Osama al-Nujaifi said on June 21 that Maliki’s opponents were to ask in the coming days for him to appear before the house in a renewed bid to oust him.

The crises have paralyzed the government, especially the parliament, which has passed no significant legislation except for the budget, while other important measures, such as a hydrocarbons law regulating Iraq’s oil sector, have been delayed.