HASSAN ABDUL ZAHRA
Sydney Morning Herald
May 16, 2010
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki took a major step toward staying in power on Saturday when a top Shiite cleric said he would not stop him from keeping his job, but an arch-rival warned of civil war.
A spokesman for Moqtada al-Sadr, a radical, anti-US cleric who is currently living in Iran, told AFP the movement would drop a veto against Maliki seeking a new term as long as he met its condition that Sadrist prisoners be freed.
Sadr has previously opposed Maliki’s quest to stay on as premier after a general election which he lost more than two months ago and several public statements delivered by his aides have been highly critical of the incumbent.
But Saturday’s conciliatory statement, which followed discussions between the two sides in the past 48 hours, was a big boost to Maliki’s chances, and it effectively eliminated the biggest hurdle impeding his chances.
This article was posted: Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 5:30 am