Iraq Leaders' Deal On Power Sharing Appears To Fall Apart

After eight months of bickering and political paralysis, Iraqi leaders were thought to have finally reached a power-sharing agreement Thursday for a new government, but that deal appeared to fall apart late in the day as members of the Sunni-backed Iraqiya List walked out of the parliamentary session.

Jalal Talabani, sworn in late Thursday for a second term as president, delegated Shiite Prime Minister Nuril al-Maliki to form a government within 30 days, as mandated by the constitution.

Thursday's session then adjourned until Saturday.

Quarreling that has typified Iraq's gridlock re-emerged during the parliamentary session, from which most members of the Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc walked out saying that the other political blocs were not adhering to their promise to vote on the tentative power-sharing agreement, which had been reached late Wednesday.

The Iraqiya List had wanted parliament to vote on that agreement before voting for a president in order to ensure guarantees that had been promised to the Sunnis were in fact delivered. In the past, politicians have made promises to Sunnis that have not materialized, resulting in a widespread lack of trust.

Politicians had cobbled out a compromise Wednesday that would have left Maliki in power and created a powerful new office that was expected to be headed by his rival, former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, lawmakers said Thursday."