May 5th, 2010
04:49 PM ET

Iraq's two top Shiite blocs merge

Almost two months after national elections, Iraq's two biggest Shiite blocs announced have announced their merger after weeks of negotiations.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's State of Law Coalition and the Iraqi National Alliance, a coalition of powerful Shiite parties backed by Iran, now have a bloc with 159 seats - just four seats away from the majority they'll need to form a cabinet.

The Iraqi National Alliance includes two of the country's most powerful Shiite parties: the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq and the anti-American Sadrist movement.

Although the move paves way for government formation - a process described by U.S. officials as "lagging" - the re-emergence of a united Shiite alliance, the same one that has ruled the country since 2005, could stoke sectarian tensions, especially if the Sunni minority feels that it is not being represented.

Almost two months after national elections, Iraq's two biggest Shiite blocs announced have announced their merger after weeks of negotiations.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's State of Law Coalition and the Iraqi National Alliance, a coalition of powerful Shiite parties backed by Iran, now have a bloc with 159 seats - just four seats away from the majority they'll need to form a cabinet.

The Iraqi National Alliance includes two of the country's most powerful Shiite parties: the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq and the anti-American Sadrist movement.

Although the move paves way for government formation - a process described by U.S. officials as "lagging" - the re-emergence of a united Shiite alliance, the same one that has ruled the country since 2005, could stoke sectarian tensions, especially if the Sunni minority feels that it is not being represented.\

Read the full CNN.com story

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  1. parkus

    proof read please

    May 5, 2010 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |