Mahdi will now run against Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to get the backing of the State of Law-National Alliance coalition. In a future meeting, a joint committee of the two lists is supposed to come up with a mechanism to decide on how members will vote on the two candidates. Earlier the committee said a politician would have to get 80% of the ballots, but AK News reported that might be reduced to 65%. State of Law has 89 seats to the National Alliance’s 70.
This is the sixth time that Mahdi has been brought up as a possible candidate for the premiership. Back in 2004 he had his candidacy to be the interim prime minister vetoed by the U.S. envoy to Iraq Robert Blackwill. Then in 2005 and 2006 he unsuccessfully ran against Jaafari and then Maliki for the position. In 2007 and 2008, the Supreme Council and others Shiite parties grew dissatisfied with Maliki’s rule and tried to replace him again with Mahdi. Abdul Mahdi has been one of the political leaders of the Supreme Council since before the overthrow of Saddam, and helped create the Independent Bloc in 2007, a less religious branch of the party. He was also the Finance Minister under Iyad Allawi’s interim government in 2004, and been vice president since Jaafari’s cabinet.
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