One member of the Shi'ite alliance, the Al-Fadhila party, says it is prepared to name another candidate if the alliance drops al-Ja'fari. Al-Fadhila is not a powerful force in the United Iraqi Alliance, but its stance may pressure other members to start considering other candidates.
The standoff has left a power vacuum in Iraq nearly four months after parliamentary elections.
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SUNNI, SHI'A: Iraq is riven along sectarian lines, faults that frequently produce violent clashes and are a constant source of tension. Sectarian concerns drive much of Iraqi politics and are the main threat to the country's fragile security environment.