Iraq’s new government is finally starting to take shape after eight months of political paralysis.
The deal must still be approved by MPs, but sees all of Iraq’s three main factions getting a share of the spoils.
Current Shi’ite prime minister Nouri al-Maliki keeps his job while the Sunni backed Iraqiya alliance, led by Iyad Allawi gets the parliamentary speakers chair. The other piece of the political jigsaw sees Jalal Talabani of the minority Kurds retain the presidency.
There had been fears a failure to reach a power-sharing pact could have destabilised security in the region, directly affecting neighbouring power Iran.
Middle East analyst Hossein Rouyvaran said: ‘‘There is no doubt that the formation of a new government in Iraq is to Iran’s benefit. Iran welcomes this event because in the absence of a government or a delay in the formation of a government, insecurity grows and this insecurity affects Iran.’‘
The return of Nouri al-Maliki as prime minister underscores Iran’s rising influence in Iraq at a time when US forces are leaving.
Nevertheless, Maliki’s return is likely to enrage many Sunni hardliners, who detest what they see as Tehran’s close links to Iraq’s Shi’ite leaders.