Maliki Challenged in Speaker Vote Runoff

Front-Runner Seeks to Limit Prime Minister's Power

It has been over two months since Iraqi parliamentary speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani angrily resigned his post, and it looks like after considerable infighting and several failed attempts the parliament is finally poised to select his replacement… a replacement that some in Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s political bloc are already seeing as a threat.

The front-runner is the last election was Iyad al-Samarrai, who fell only 15 votes short of securing the spot. A run-off vote will be held tomorrow.

Samarrai is a member of the Sunni Iraqi Islamic Party (IIP), and reportedly part of a broad anti-Maliki coalition which seeks to limit the Prime Minister’s ever increasing role in the Iraqi government, and which may even seek to remove him from power through a no-confidence vote. Given the enormous power Maliki already wields and his considerable gains in the recent provincial elections, it seems unlikely that it will be any serious threat to his position.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of