The main political factions in Iraq have finally agreed the make-up of a new government, ending eight months of squabbling and political deadlock.
The deal sees incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Shi’ite-led alliance retaining the post, guarenteeing him a second term, while the minority Kurds will keep the presidency, with Jalal Talabani expected to stay in the job.
The deal for a so-called ‘national partnership government’ was sealed when the Sunni-backed Iraqiya accepted the post of Parliamentary Speaker, with its leader Iyad Allawi heading a new Council of Strategic Policy.
The agreement may help ease a steadily-worsening security situation which followed March’s inconclusive election. The eight-month impasse sparked a wave of violence, particularly against Christians, leading to calls for them to flee Iraq.