Date: June 12 2012
OPPONENTS of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki have failed to muster enough support to bring him down in a vote of no confidence.
Mr Maliki, a Shiite, faces a growing challenge from Sunni and Kurdish parties, as well as other Shiites within his unity government who accuse him of monopolising power. But he also has allies such as President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, whose office must affirm that a petition for a no-confidence vote has enough signatures.
Mr Talabani's refusal to ratify the no-confidence campaign's letter is a setback for Mr Maliki's opponents, although the constitution gives them other ways of trying for the vote.
Last week, Mr Maliki's opponents said they sent a letter to Mr Talabani with pledges from 176 MPs in the 325-member parliament - or a dozen more than the 164 needed - that they would vote for the Prime Minister's recall.
But Mr Talabani said the letter had only 160 valid signatures. He said 13 MPs informed him that they were withdrawing or suspending their signatures. There was no immediate explanation for the discrepancy between the 176 signatures cited by Mr Maliki's opponents and the total of 173 referred to by Mr Talabani.
Disgruntled coalition partners, including representatives of the Sunni-dominated Iraqiya movement, Kurdish parties and supporters of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, are meeting in the autonomous Kurdish region to discuss their next move.
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