Iraq's Maliki rejects to withdraw candidacy for third term

Iraq's Maliki rejects to withdraw candidacy for third term

BAGHDAD, July 4 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi outgoing Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki rejected Friday to withdraw his candidacy for a third term in office, he said in a statement.

"I will never abandon my candidacy for the post of prime minister, as the Coalition of the State of Law is the largest bloc that has the right to assume the premier post," Maliki said in the statement broadcast on the state-run Iraqiya channel.

"No party has the right to put conditions, which is dictatorial act which we strongly reject," the statement said.

Earlier, the outgoing Parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi said in a statement that he withdrew his candidacy for the speaker post after Maliki put Nujaifi's withdrawal a condition to withdraw his nomination for the premier post.

The latest move by Maliki could prolong the country's political deadlock as the parliament is scheduled to hold its next session on Tuesday after the lawmakers in the first parliament meeting on July 1 failed to agree on electing a new speaker and two deputies.

According to the Iraqi constitution, if the parliament succeeds to elect a new speaker and two deputies, the next step should be choosing new president within the next 30 days.

Following that, the new head of state will have half of a month to ask the bloc with the most lawmakers to nominate a prime minister, who will be responsible for forming a new government.

The duration for the prime minister-designate to select his cabinet members, and present the list to the parliament is 30 days.

With the country's ever deepening security crisis, a new unity government is now considered vital for Iraq to counter the Sunni insurgency that threatens to split the country apart.