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Middle East

Al-Maliki reappointed as Iraqi Prime Minister

media Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki (L) and head of the Iraqiya coalition … Reuters

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is set to begin forming his cabinet on Friday, a day after a new power-sharing deal ended eight months of uncertainty in the country. Maliki, a Shia-Muslim, is remaining as prime minister, while Sunni Iyad Allawi has taken the speaker's post.

Kurd Jalal Talabani has been re-elected president.

Maliki was appointed despite a dispute on Thursday evening that prompted about 60 members of Allawi's Iraqiya bloc to walk out during an acrimonious parliament session.

Before voting for a president, Iraqiya had called for three of its top members - barred for alleged ties to Saddam Hussein's Baath party - to be reinstated.

The support of Iraqiya, which narrowly won the 7 March poll and which gained most of its seats in Sunni areas, is seen as vital to preventing a resurgence of violence.

After being re-elected by MPs, Talabani named Maliki as the prime minister-elect. Maliki now has 30 days to form his cabinet, with the next parliamentary meeting scheduled for Saturday.

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