Senior Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Ali Sistani calls for political blocs to agree on next government's leaders before parliament meets on Tuesday. Natalie Thomas reports.
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Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki is not only facing a challenge from Sunni militants
Having won elections in April, he is also yet to form a government
Now, Iraq's most senior cleric has ratcheted up the pressure
At this religious gathering a representative of Cleric Ayatollah Ali Alsistani called on Maliki to form a new government in just four days
(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) REPRESENTATIVE OF IRAQ'S TOP CLERIC AYATOLLAH ALI AL-SISTANI, SHEIKH ABDUL MAHDI AL- KARBALAEI, SAYING:
"After a presidential decree that called on members of the new parliament who were elected on April 30 to convene the first session of parliament next Tuesday, what is required of the political blocs is to agree on the three presidencies within the remaining days to this date."
After the last elections in 2010 it took Maliki nearly 10 months to build a coalition.
But as fighting continued to rage in parts of the country this week, many are pushing for the formation of a new government as quickly as possible
Whether this includes Maliki is open to question.
Some see him as a polarising figure partly responsible for the ease with which Sunni militant fighters captured large areas of the country.
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