Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, has indicated that he will not give in to the pressure to drop his bid for a third term and accuses the President of violating the constitution in a tough televised speech likely to deepen political tensions as a Sunni insurgency rages.
The Prime Minister, seen as an authoritarian and sectarian leader, accused Iraq’s Kurdish President, Fouad Massoum, of violating the constitution by failing to meet a deadline for Iraq’s biggest political bloc to nominate a prime minister.
A dispute over which bloc won the most seats during the election has complicated efforts to form a new government in Iraq, a major oil exporter.
Nouri Al-Maliki, who has served in a caretaker capacity since an inconclusive election in April, has defied calls by Sunnis, Kurds, some fellow Shi’ite and regional power broker, to step aside for a less polarizing figure who can unite Iraqis against Islamic state militants.
Meanwhile U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, insisted that the formation of an Iraqi government is critical for stability and urged the Prime Minister, Nouri Al-Maliki not to stoke political tensions.
The U.S President, Barack Obama, has urged Iraqi political leaders to bury their sectarian differences and form a more inclusive government that can unite Iraqis against Islamic state militants.
Also the United States has carried out three consecutive days of air strikes over Iraq, stepping up assistance to Kurdish forces to counter the advance of Islamic militants in the north of the country.
Maliki, who has been premier since 2006, has alienated some allies, including the United States, who blame him for failing to forge consensus and fueling sectarian violence that is breaking Iraq apart.