11 Nov 2010

Power-sharing breakthrough among Iraqi factions

9:54 pm on 11 November 2010

Iraq's deeply divided political factions have reached a power-sharing deal more than eight months after inconclusive general elections, according to a government spokesman and a top politician.

The deal was brokered after three days of talks between the rival factions.

A senior lawmaker from the cross-sectarian Iraqiya coalition headed by former prime minister Iyad Allawi told journalists the bloc would join a government to be headed by incumbent prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki.

The Iraqi parliament is scheduled to meet overnight to elect a speaker, the first step in forming a government. It will be just the second time since an inconclusive election in March.

The development happened on a day when bomb and mortar attacks targeting Christians in the capital Baghdad killed five people and wounded dozens of others.

Earlier in the day, a series of bombings and mortar attacks targeting Christian areas of Baghdad killed at least five people.

Security sources say six districts with strong Christian populations were hit and at least 24 people were also injured.

The attacks come almost two weeks after more than 40 people died when militants seized a Catholic cathedral.