BAGHDAD (AFP) - Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Wednesday ruled out forming a national emergency government to confront a Sunni militant offensive that has overrun large parts of the country.
"The call to form a national emergency government is a coup against the constitution and the political process," Mr Maliki said in a televised address.
"The dangerous goals of forming a national emergency government are not hidden.
"It is an attempt by those who are against the constitution to eliminate the young democratic process and steal the votes of the voters," said the Iraqi leader.
Mr Maliki's electoral bloc won by far the most seats in April 30 parliamentary elections with 92, nearly three times as many as the next biggest party, and the incumbent himself tallied 720,000 personal votes, also far and away the most.
But he fell short of a majority in Iraq's Council of Representatives, and has had to court the support of rivals in order to form a government.
A recent militant offensive led by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, has put pressure on Mr Maliki from both domestic opponents and overseas, with critics alleging his policies are sectarian.