Maliki launches pan-Iraqi bloc

BAGHDAD: Iraqi PM Nouri Maliki has formed a new political bloc to contest

January’s general election.

The alliance will be called State of Law and will comprise of 40

political parties representing a

variety of Iraqi religious sects and ethnic groups. Maliki has been PM since 2006, but in August his Dawa party broke with the Shia-led coalition. The new bloc may not gain a majority in its own right and might need to join a wider coalition. “The birth of State of Law represents a historic milestone and development in establishing a modern Iraq built on peaceful, nationalist principles... far from the politics of marginalisation and discrimination,” said Maliki. Iraq’s last parliamentary election in 2005 was contested along ethnic and sectarian lines. Shia-led parties under the banner of the United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) won 128 of the 275 seats in parliament.

Iraqi politics have undergone a realignment, with the break-up of the UIA and the formation of the Iraqi National Alliance, a pro-Iranian bloc including the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council and the Sadrist movement.