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New prime minister Nuri al-Maliki (left) and president Jalal Talabani (right) speak to the media after yesterday's parliamentary meeting. Iraqi Presidency/PA

Obama hails 'milestone' as Iraq finally appoints new PM

Eight months after parliamentary elections, Iraq ends deadlock and finally agrees a deal to form a coalition government.

IRAQ’S POLITICAL PARTIES have ended eight months of political instability by appointing a new prime minister, a full eight months after holding parliamentary elections that left no party with a clear majority.

Outgoing prime minister, Shiite Muslim Nuri al-Maliki, was re-appointed after his party, the State of Law Coalition, alleged with the National Iraqi Alliance and a number of other smaller parties to win the approval of a majority in the 325-seat Council of Representatives.

The former parliament had been dissolved in November of last year – meaning the country had been without a functioning parliament for over a year until the deal was eventually struck.

Malaki was nominated to the position after the parliament returned Jalal Talabani to what Al-Jazeera describes s a largely ceremonial role of president, and appointed Osama al-Nujaifi – a senior member of the Iraqiya coalition – as the speaker.

Maliki now has a month in which to form a cabinet and president it to the parliament for a vote approving its appointment.

The appointment was hailed by Barack Obama, who described the appointment as a “milestone” as he left the G20 summit in Seoul.

“This agreement marks another milestone in the history of modern Iraq, once again showing Iraqis are showing their determination to unify Iraq and build its future and that those impulses are far stronger than those who want Iraq to descend into sectarian war and terror,” he said.

The young parliament has already seen its share of turmoil, however, with the main Sunni bloc – that of Tabalani – walking out of the parliament, accusing the newly-reappointed PM of having backed out on their power-sharing deal.

They claim that Maliki had agreed to reinstate four Sunni politicians which the BBC reports had been banned earlier this year for their alleged ties to the now-disbanded Baath party of Saddam Hussein.

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