Iraqi premier threatens to resign over lawmaker's "dictator" remark
Dec 20, 2011, 9:02 GMT
Baghdad - Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has threatened to resign if lawmakers fail to pass a no-confidence vote against one of his deputies for calling him 'a dictator,' an aide was quoted as saying Tuesday.
Saleh al-Mutlaq had made the comment in an interview with broadcaster CNN last week.
'If the parliament does not pass a no-confidence motion against al-Mutlaq, I will be the one to resign in days,' al-Maliki told members of his State of Law coalition, the aide told the independent daily al-Mada.
The Shiite Muslim premier is seen to be excluding the country's highest Sunni officials, raising speculation that he is seeking to tighten his grip over the country.
Al-Mutlaq is Sunni Muslim, like Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi against whom an arrest warrant was issued on Monday on suspicion of involvement in the assassination of government officials.
Al-Hashimi and members of his security staff are accused of involvement in the November 28 bombing outside parliament, which al-Maliki said had targeted him.
Al-Hashemi and al-Mutlaq are leaders of the Iraqiya bloc, a secular group with strong Sunni support that joined the unity government last year.
Lawmakers are due to return to parliament in early January.