Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki warned he could call for early elections if dialogue fails to resolve political crisis.
"When the other side refuses to sit at the table of dialogue and insists on the policy of provoking successive crises in a way that causes severe damages to the supreme interests of Iraqi people, the prime minister found himself obliged to call for early elections," he said in a statement, according to CNN.
Al-Maliki's media adviser Ali al-Moussawi said he was clarifying an earlier statement made on the prime minister's website that said "the prime minister has found himself forced to call for early elections," reported Bloomberg.
"He wanted to say that if you don't accept dialogue, then we will go to early election because problems won't be resolved this way," al-Moussawi told Bloomberg. "He has said this in previous statements."
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Iraq's next parliamentary elections are to be held in 2014, if they are not called earlier, according to Agence France-Presse. Article 64 of the Iraqi constitution says parliament can be dissolved by an absolute majority vote. The process can either be initiated by a request from one-third of members of parliament, or from the prime minister, whose request has to be approved by the president. President Jalal Talabani's position on when elections should be called was not made clear.
Al-Maliki made the statement as a response to Sunni, Kurdish and Shiite leaders demanding his resignation because of claims they've been sidelined from power in the government, reported the Associated Press.
According to Reuters, the groups have been butting heads since the last US troops left Iraq in December.