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Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric calls for next prime minister to be chosen by Tuesday

Published on Jun 28, 2014 10:50 AM
 

BAGHDAD (REUTERS) - The most influential Shi'ite cleric in Iraq called on the country's leaders on Friday to choose a prime minister within the next four days, a dramatic political intervention that could hasten the end of Mr Nouri al-Maliki's eight year rule.

Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, who commands unswerving loyalty from many Shi'ites in Iraq and beyond, said political blocs should agree on the next premier, parliament speaker and president before a newly elected legislature meets on Tuesday.

Mr Sistani's intervention makes it difficult for Mr Maliki to stay on as caretaker leader as he has since a parliamentary election in April. That means he must either build a coalition to confirm himself in power for a third term or step aside.

Mr Sistani's message was delivered after a meeting of Shi'ite factions including Maliki's State of Law coalition failed to agree on a consensus candidate for prime minister.

 
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