BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Wednesday warned he will call for early elections if other political parties refuse to negotiate to end a deadlock over power-sharing that has crippled the government.
Iraq's Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish political blocks have been locked in a crisis since the last American troops left the country in December, and Maliki's critics are fighting to organize a vote of no confidence against the Shi'ite leader.
"If the other party refuses to sit at the negotiating table and insists on creating crises after crisis..., then the prime minister finds himself compelled to call early elections," a statement from the prime minister's office said.
A government spokesman said it was not an immediate call for early elections, but a signal from Maliki to other political parties to negotiate over the crisis or face an early ballot.
(Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed; writing by Patrick Markey)