Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (2rd R) attends a session at the parliament headquarters in Baghdad July 1, 2014. (REUTERS/Thaier al-Sudani)
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Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who is fighting for his political life as a Sunni insurgency fractures the country, said Wednesday he hoped parliament could form a new government in its next session after the first collapsed in discord.The mounting concern and pressure from the United States, Iran, the United Nations and Iraq's own Shiite religious authorities have done little to end the paralyzing divisions between Iraq's main ethnic and sectarian blocs.Under the system put in place after the United States toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003, the premiership is traditionally given to a Shiite, while the speaker of the house has been a Sunni and the president, a largely ceremonial role, has been a Kurd.If the Shiite bloc failed to replace Maliki, he said, there was a risk Sunni lawmakers would abandon the political process altogether.Longtime Maliki ally Sami Askari said that forming a government could take until the end of Ramadan, the Muslim fasting month. Maliki's government, bolstered by civilian volunteers and Shiite militias, has managed to stop the militant advance short of the capital, but has been unable to take back the cities that government forces abandoned.
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