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Iraqi Shi'ite Blocs Announce Name Of Merger


The bloc includes Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's State of Law and the Iraqi National Alliance.

The bloc includes Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's State of Law and the Iraqi National Alliance.

Iraq's two main Shi'ite political blocs have announced that they'll call their new merger the National Alliance.

The merging blocs -- Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's State of Law and the Iraqi National Alliance -- finished second and third in the March parliamentary elections.

They are now set to together have 159 seats in parliament -- just short of the 163 seats needed to form a new government.

Reports say, however, that the two blocs have not yet agreed on a candidate to support for prime minister, should they be able to form a government.

Parliament must still formally approve the National Alliance as a recognized coalition after the chamber convenes for the first time on June 14.

The March elections were narrowly won by a cross-sectarian coalition led by secularist former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, who garnered significant support from Iraq's minority Sunnis. However, the coalition fell well short of a majority and has not been able to form a government.

compiled from agency reports
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