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Coalition Talks in Iraq Collapse

Iraq's two main political coalitions broke off talks Monday aimed at ending a five-month-long political deadlock.

A spokeswoman for the Sunni-backed Iraqiya alliance, Maysoon al-Damaluji, said the group ended negotiations. She claimed the Shi'ite-dominated State of Law alliance labeled them as a Sunni bloc rather than cross-sectarian.

The fight over ethnic political standing comes as a group of activist organizations filed a lawsuit Monday against parliament speaker Fouad Massum. The groups are accusing him of violating the constitution by ordering the newly elected parliament, which convened 14 Jun, to remain in an open-ended session until a political agreement is reached.

Former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya alliance won the poll with 91 seats in the 7 March vote, while Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law alliance captured 89. Both groups were far short of the 163-seat majority needed to govern.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.