Iraq Speaker Threatens No Confidence Vote for Prime Minister

Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi re-iterated concerns that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has not shared power in keeping with a 2010 agreement that allowed the premier to stay in office a second term. He called on Maliki to voluntarily step down but also warned the premier that lawmakers are prepared to continue their attempts to oust the premier by force.

Recent attempts to withdraw confidence from the prime minister failed when several opposition lawmakers switched sides after meeting with Maliki. However, a spokesman for Kurdish President Massoud Barzani’s office said there are now enough signatures on a petition to move forward with the motion.

Nujaifi also said parliament would soon formally demand Maliki appear before them to answer questions about constitutional violations. Maliki returned the favor by calling on parliament to hold an emergency meeting on similar issues.

Maliki’s State of Law party placed second, behind Iraqiya, in 2010 elections but months of dealmaking produced a power-sharing agreement that allowed Maliki to remain in office. His administration has been slow to implement many of the provisions of that deal, and opposition leaders repeatedly warned that Maliki was instead concentrating power. In December, as U.S. troops withdrew, Maliki intensified what appears to be a campaign of marginalization against Sunni opponents.

One victim of the campaign has been Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi who is being tried in absentia on terrorism charges. Hashemi has denied the accusations and questions why the charges, some which date back five years, were not brought up until after the U.S. withdrawal. The trial has intensified the rift between Maliki supporters, which includes the judiciary trying Hashemi, and opposition groups.

Meanwhile, at least three Iraqis were killed and four more were wounded in light violence.

In Mosul, gunmen killed one university student and wounded another. Security personnel killed a man attempting to use a hand grenade.

Police killed a suicide bomber who was riding a bicycle up to a Ramadi checkpoint.

A soldier and a policeman were wounded when a bomb targeting their joint patrol exploded near Abu Karma.

A double bombing in Riyadh left one policeman with injuries.

A sticky bomb planted on a car belonging to a security official in Baquba was deactivated.

Author: Margaret Griffis

Margaret Griffis is a journalist from Miami Beach, Florida and has been covering Iraqi casualties for since 2006.