Epic Battle Over, Maliki Must Form New Government
He now has 30 days to pick his Cabinet
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 25, 2010 12:55 PM CST
FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2010 file photo, Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki speaks at a parade marking Police Day in Baghdad, Iraq. Iraqi state television reports on Thursday, Nov. 25, 2010, that the...   (Karim Kadim)
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(Newser) – Incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki cemented his grip on power today, bringing an end to nearly nine months of political deadlock after he was asked to form the next government. The long-awaited request from President Jalal Talabani sets in motion a 30-day timeline during which al-Maliki must pick his Cabinet. Al-Maliki, a steely politician known more for his ability to alienate than unify, said he was aware of the challenges ahead.

"I call upon the great Iraqi people from all sects, religions and ethnicities and I call upon my brothers the politicians to work to overcome all differences," the prime minister designate said during the ceremony at the president's palace. The new government is expected to include all the major factions, including the Kurds, Shiite political parties aligned with Iran, and a Sunni-backed bloc that believes it should have been the one leading the next government.