Iraq’s Allawi hopes for new government in August

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Iyad Allawi narrowly beat the incumbent prime minister into second place in the March 7 general election
© AFP/File Sabah Arar

  Iyad Allawi narrowly beat the incumbent prime minister into second place in the March 7 general election
© AFP/File Sabah Arar

BEIRUT (AFP) – Iyad Allawi, one of two principal contenders vying to become Iraq’s next prime minister, said on Friday he hoped a new government would be formed next month, ending a four-month political hiatus.

“We hope to form the government in August,” Allawi, who narrowly beat incumbent Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki into second place in the March 7 general election, said in the Lebanese capital.

“The negotiations between the political groups entered their last phase and we wish to close this file as soon as possible,” he said after talks in Beirut with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

Allawi’s broadly secular Iraqiya party narrowly pushed Maliki’s State of Law Shiite coalition into second place in the poll, but the incumbent has been doggedly fighting to stay on and serve a second term.

Last weekend on a surprise visit to Baghdad, US Vice President Joe Biden urged Iraqi leaders to end differences and form a government.