Iraqi President Jalal al-Talabani has threatened to step down if Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is given a vote of no confidence.
Talabani issued his warning in recent letters, he wrote to the President of Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Massoud Barzani, former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, the Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, Osama al-Nujaifi as well as Mustafa Yacoubi of the nationalist Sadrist Movement.
Barzani is spearheading the call for a no-confidence vote for Maliki.
“In case of the continuation of actions demanding a no-confidence vote for al-Maliki, I will, on the basis of the Constitution, resign from my position as president,” Talabani wrote.
According to the Iraqi Constitution, the prime minister can be forced out of office if more than half of the country's 325 lawmakers vote against him.
“The president should be an independent person, who oversees the national unity and unifies [the nation]. Unilateral support means the loss of my role,” the Iraqi president noted, adding, “Thus, if the present circumstances force me to act in contradiction to my primary position, I will tender my resignation.”
Ties between Iraq and the KRG became particularly strained after fugitive Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, who faces charges of “running a death squad and being the mastermind behind a November 2011 parliament blast,” fled to Iraqi Kurdistan, but the KRG refused to hand him over to the central government.