“I was surprised to see a report by al-Hayat Saudi Newspaper over a secret visit by Maliki to Iran to conduct dialogue over the Shiite talks concerning the new government… This report is groundless and absolutely false and he will head the Council of Ministers session today,” said Ali al-Musawi, Media Advisor of the Premier, Nouri al-Maliki. (IraqiNews, 4 May)
Maliki’s State of Law coalition received the highest number of votes in Thursday’s parliamentary elections in Iraq; his coalition could win over 100 of parliament’s 328 seats, enabling Maliki to form his third government with the help of other Shia groups, and with only token representation from Sunni and Kurdish parties.
UPDATE: Iraq's Shia spiritual leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, has warned of attempts to “manipulate the parliamentary election results,” said his representative Sheikh Abdul Mahdi Al-Karbalai. (The Middle East Monitor, 4 May)
Meanwhile, Muqtada Al-Sadr warned of a Shia revolt in southern Iraq against Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki if he is declared to have won the election, claiming that Al-Maliki could only win through “manipulation of the figures and fraud.”
This means that Maliki will face stiff opposition from rival Shia parties to form his third government, even if his State of Law coalition wins more seats that other parties.
File photo: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (IraqiNews)