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Sunnis, Shi'ites Agree On Jawad al-Maliki As Prime Minister Nominee

April 21, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The predominantly Shi'ite United Iraqi Alliance says it will nominate Jawad al-Maliki for candidate of prime minister of Iraq, Radio Free Iraq reports.

The group confirmed tonight its choice of al-Maliki. The alliance says it will present his name and of other candidates to a session of parliament tomorrow in order to form a new government.

Iraqi's largest Sunni Arab coalition says it welcomes the choice.

Al-Maliki is an ally of Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Ja'fari, whose nomination had sparked opposition from Sunni Arab and Kurdish leaders. Al-Ja'fari withdrew under pressure yesterday.

Sa'di Ahmad Pirah, a leading member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan spoke today to Radio Free Iraq about the political situation.

"The announcement of Dr. [Ibrahim] al-Ja'fari that he would withdraw from his nomination for the position of prime minister is a positive step. By this step he has helped Iraq and the democratic process in Iraq."

With the deal on al-Maliki, Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish parties also have said to agree on nominees to fill the other top posts.

Under the proposed deal, Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, would remain as president for a second term. Sunni Arab Tareq al-Hashemi and Shi'ite Adil Abdel-Madi would hold the two vice-president spots. Mahmud al-Mashhadani, a Sunni, would become parliament speaker with two deputies - Khalid Attiya, a Shiite, and Aref Tayfour, a Kurd.

(with additional agency material)

Copyright (c) 2006. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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