Baghdad — Iraq's largest bloc of Sunni politicians suspended membership in the government Wednesday, a bid that appeared timed to deepen disenchantment in Washington with the Shiite prime minister's faltering leadership.
The Iraqi Accordance Front, which has six Cabinet seats and 44 of 275 in parliament, gave Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki a week to meet its demands or see ministers quit the 14-month-old government.
The suspension was only the latest challenge to al-Maliki's dwindling ability to govern the country and promote national reconciliation.
In April, five ministers loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr quit the government over al-Maliki's refusal to set a timeline for American forces to leave Iraq. Should the Accordance Front ministers quit, al-Maliki's so-called national unity government would be limping along with more than a fourth of the 38 Cabinet posts vacated by protest resignations.