Shi'ite politicians plan to meet Sunday at the urging of the country's top Shi'ite cleric to discuss the crisis over the nomination of Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari for another term, officials said.
Al-Jaafari's allies suggested the meeting would simply reaffirm his nomination, but others believed it could be the first step in finding another Shiite candidate for the top government post.
"We must find solutions to overcome these hurdles," said prominent Shi'ite lawmaker Hussain al-Shahristani, who has been mentioned as an alternative to al-Jaafari. "If we find that we need to reconsider any position to guarantee Iraq's best interest, then we will reconsider it."
Opposition to al-Jaafari, including some within the Shi'ite United Iraqi Alliance, has deadlocked talks on a national unity government, which the US believes is the best way to reverse Iraq's slide toward anarchy.