Iraqis breathed a sigh of relief following an announcement by leaders of the two largest Iraqi parliamentary blocs -- incumbent Prime Minister and State of Law leader Nouri al-Maliki and al-Iraqiyah leader Ayad Allawi – that they would respect constitutional deadlines in forming the next government.
Following a meeting on Tuesday (June 29th), Al-Maliki and Allawi also announced the next government would represent Iraqis from across the political spectrum.
Government spokesperson Ali al-Dabbagh said the meeting, which was held at Allawi's residence in central Baghdad and lasted about 90 minutes, focused on "important issues concerning the future of Iraq and formation of government, as well as issues of concern to the Iraqi citizen".
Al-Iraqiyah List won 91 seats in the new parliament, the highest number of seats won by a single political entity.
The State of Law Coalition was second with 89 seats, but it joined the Iraqi National Alliance a few weeks ago, creating a new political entity called the National Coalition with a total of 160 seats.
The meeting, which was hoped to help break the deadlock in forming the next government, was attended by a number of Iraqi politicians from both sides.
"During the meeting, the two sides stressed the need to comply with the deadlines for the formation of government so the country does not face a constitutional crisis," al-Dabbagh said. "They also stressed the need to have a government representing all Iraqis across the spectrum and expressing Iraqis' will as shown by the democratic, free election."
Ali al-Musawi, media adviser to the prime minister, said the "meeting was serious in examining the problems that impede the formation of government".
He also said the State of Law Coalition wants to hold talks with al-Iraqiyah leaders to save time before constitutional deadlines.
Al-Iraqiyah leader Usama al-Nujaifi said the meeting was "friendly and important".
Al-Nujaifi expressed optimism that the two main coalitions can reach an agreement about forming the government in the coming days.
"The Iraqi leaders agreed on the importance of forming the Iraqi government under the constitutional umbrella. They also agreed on the need to hold more intensive meetings between the two sides in the next few days," he said.
"Everyone agreed on one thing: to form a national partnership government that will contribute to the building of Iraq's future," said Abdul Hadi al-Hassani, a member of the State of Law Coalition.
"We want to have a real partnership government in which all components of Iraqi society contribute -- one that includes a joint project to resolve the negative aspects in politics, security, and foreign relations," al-Hassani said.
For many Iraqis, politicians and citizens alike, an agreement between the al-Maliki and Allawi is essential to help Iraq overcome terrorism.
"An agreement between leaders means a defeat of the forces of evil and terrorism. It also means economic and social prosperity in Iraq, which we will see soon," said Sheikh Khalid al-Attia, a member of the Iraqi National Alliance.
"Fighting the terrorists is not necessarily done through weapons, or by killing them and storming their dens; rather, everyone fights from their own places," said Baghdad resident Sondos Jameel, 33. "This meeting in particular disrupted the last wishes of Iraq's enemies who expected that the country would enter into a cycle of violence. It's a new nail in the coffin of terrorism that is walking to its own death."
For Khalid Aswad, 49, an agreement between Iraqi politicians and leaders means the "agreement of street and its unity".