- The Washington Times - Friday, April 21, 2006

[4:24 p.m.]

BAGHDAD (AP) — Shi’ite politicians agreed today to nominate Jawad al-Maliki as prime minister, replacing the incumbent in a bid to clear the way for a long-delayed new government, two Shi’ite officials said.

Mr. al-Maliki is a top ally of outgoing Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, whose nomination had sparked sharp opposition from Sunni Arab and Kurdish leaders and caused a deadlock lasting months.

Leaders of the seven parties that make up the Shi’ite alliance agreed on Mr. al-Maliki’s nomination in an evening, said Jalal Eddin al-Sagheer, a member of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), the largest party in the alliance.

Mr. al-Maliki won the nomination with agreement from six of the parties, said another SCIRI official, Ridha Jawad Taqi. The Shi’ite nominee is to be presented to a session of parliament tomorrow.

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