Cleric: Political impasse must end
Baghdad - An anti-American Shi’ite cleric is calling on Iraq's top political leaders to hammer out an agreement on a new government within the next week.
In a statement released on Saturday evening, Shi’ite hard-liner Muqtada al-Sadr urged President Jalal Talabani, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and former premier Ayad Allawi to set aside their personal differences and end the political crisis that has stymied the formation of a new government since the March 7 election.
Al-Maliki and Allawi are political rivals who each want to be Iraq's next prime minister.
Al-Sadr's statement comes as Talabani faces a June 15 deadline to seat the newly elected parliament.
It also serves in part as a reminder of al-Sadr's growing influence after his party won 40 seats in parliament.