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Sources: Maliki's party votes unanimously to choose replacement.

According to sources inside Nuri al-Maliki's National Alliance, Maliki's Dawa Party voted unanimously to choose an alternative to Maliki to become Iraq's Prime Minister, reported pan-Arab daily ASHARQ AL AWSAT, Saturday. This news comes in the wake of a breaking of ties between Ammar al-Hakim's pro-Iranian Iraqi National Alliance (INA) and Maliki's State of Law coalition. The source told the daily that a replacement candidate for Maliki will "surely be from the Dawa party" and that Maliki "for the first time showed flexibility in this regard." A senior official in the National Alliance refused to respond to these new developments, but told ASHARQ AL AWSAT, on the condition of anonymity that "we are waiting for an official announcement on this subject before we state our position on it."

The National Alliance, an umbrella coalition including Hakim's INA, Maliki's State of Law, and the Sadrist bloc, has been close in the past few months to forming a government, but Maliki's insistence on remaining on as prime minister has been the main sticking point of negotiations. The Sadrist bloc in particular has refused Maliki as a candidate as well as refusing to accept any Dawa member as a prime ministerial candidate. Amir al-Kanani, Secretary-General of the liberal bloc of the Sadrist movement said that "time was running out" on Maliki's State of Law, and that they "had to replace Maliki".
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Title Annotation:IRAQ-ELECTIONS
Publication:The Weekly Middle East Reporter (Beirut, Lebanon)
Date:Aug 14, 2010
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