Al-Maliki Begins To Form New Iraqi Government

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani officially named Nuri al-Maliki to a second term as prime minister in a televised ceremony Thursday.

Talabani gave a speech and handed a letter to the prime minister, asking him to form a new government after a months-long political stalemate that drew fears of a resurgence in sectarian and insurgent violence.

Al-Maliki has 30 days to work with rival factions and form a government or face the prospect of losing the president's nomination.

""I know very well, as do you, that the task I have been designated with is not an easy one, especially with Iraq's current circumstances,"" al-Maliki said. ""So I urge the great Iraqi people ... and my brothers the politicians to work on getting past all the disputes that had dominated the past stages.""

Al-Maliki's nomination came after months of delicate power-sharing negotiations within Iraq's fledgling democracy.

Earlier this month, former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi offered a grim prediction for the future of Iraq's government after a dramatic walkout staged by Sunni lawmakers in the Iraqiya bloc.

""We think the concept of power-sharing is dead now,"" the secular Shiite said. ""It's finished.""

The Iraqiya bloc, led by Allawi, had threatened to shun negotiations on sharing power with Kurds and Shiites.But just days after the walkout, the principal political blocs agreed to establish a committee to negotiate aspects of the deal."