May 25, 2010 / 3:57 PM / 9 years ago

Anger, recrimination at funeral of Iraqi politician

MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraqi politicians buried a slain Sunni colleague on Tuesday and accused Shi’ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s government of failing to protect the cross-sectarian Iraqiya alliance that won a March election.

The killing on Monday of Bashar Mohammed Hamid al-Aqidi, who won a seat for the Iraqiya bloc led by secularist former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, was the first of a winning candidate since the inconclusive parliamentary vote ramped up tensions across Iraq’s fractious political landscape.

More than 2 1/2 months after an election Iraqis had hoped would produce stable government following years of war, the results have not been certified and the formation of a new government could be weeks or months away.

The resulting political vacuum has raised fears of renewed sectarian violence.

Aqidi, a 33-year-old businessman shot to death in the restive northern city of Mosul, was a member of Iraqiyoon, a Sunni party within the Iraqiya coalition.

The party issued a statement condemning the attack and said there was a “well-organized scheme” targeting Iraqiya figures, including winning candidates.

Osama al-Nujaifi, the head of Iraqiyoon, said initial indications pointed to al Qaeda militants in Aqidi’s killing. Mosul is a hub for the Sunni Islamist group and Aqidi lived in a neighborhood known for criminal gangs and al Qaeda activity.

“The government is to blame because it is slack in doing its duty to protect the lawmakers of Iraqiya,” Nujaifi said. “It is not the first time that Iraqiya has been targeted.”

Despite Iraqiya’s narrow win at the polls, Iraq’s two main Shi’ite groups, State of Law and the Iraqi National Alliance (INA), have announced plans to join together to form the largest bloc in parliament.

Allawi has warned repeatedly that any attempt to exclude his winning coalition from a new government could spark bloodshed.

“I can’t anticipate what may happen if there is a government without Iraqiya,” Allawi said on Tuesday in an interview on al-Jazeera television. “But I expect it will be a very dangerous scenario. More than anticipated.”

Aqidi was shot in the chest in front of his home in western Mosul and died a short time later, police said. His driver was also wounded and police said two suspects were arrested.

Aqidi’s uncle, Nadhum al-Aqidi, said the government “must not keep eyes closed to the killing of a lawmaker.”

“We blame no one and accuse no one,” he said. “But we hold responsible the politicians because they can’t agree ... The continuation of their disputes will increase the security deterioration.” (Additional reporting by Waleed Ibrahim, writing by Jim Loney)

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