Iraqi parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi won’t run for another term after outgoing Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki made this conditional on his not seeking a third term as head of government, a statement said Friday.
“I announce the withdrawal of my candidacy as a speaker of the Council of Representatives in its new term, and I wish to whoever would assume this post the success to serve the people,” the statement, emailed to Xinhua, quoted Nujaifi as saying.
“We have worked with Shia parties of the National Alliance, which Maliki’s State of Law Coalition is part of, in order to change the prime minister as a start to change the policies in our dear country which have led to a crisis after another until Iraq has become threatened with disintegration,” the statement said.
Maliki’s seeking a third term in office was rejected by major Shia parties, the Kurds and all Sunni parties, Nujaifi said.
“When Maliki realised that it becomes inevitable to nominate a new prime minister, he insisted on linking leaving his seeking for a third term to my agreement not to nominate myself for the next speaker post,” he said.
Nujaifi described Maliki’s insistence to link his withdrawal for a third term with Nujaifi’s withdrawal as “bizarre and illogical”, according to the statement.
The move of Nujaifi and Maliki to step down from seeking another term in their offices could be a major step toward resolving Iraq’s political deadlock as the parliament is scheduled to hold its next session Tuesday after the lawmakers in the first parliament meeting July 1 failed to agree on electing a new speaker and two deputies.
According to the Iraqi constitution, if the parliament succeeds to elect a new speaker and two deputies, the next step should be choosing a new president within the next 30 days.
Following that, the new head of state will have half a month to ask the bloc with the most lawmakers to nominate a prime minister, who will be responsible for forming a new government.
The duration for the prime minister-designate to select his cabinet members, and present the list to the parliament is 30 days.
With the country’s ever deepening security crisis, a new unity government is now considered vital for Iraq to counter the Sunni insurgency that threatens to split the country apart.