Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has indicated the formation of the country's new government will be closer to the December 25 deadline than first thought.
Maliki had vowed to announce the formation of the new government by December 15, but said Saturday he is still seeking nominations from top politicians.
Prime Minister Maliki, a Shi'ite Muslim, is forming a new government at the request of President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, after the parliamentary elections in March failed to produce an outright winner.
The new government aims to end an eight-month political stalemate by uniting Sunnis, Shi'ites and Kurds, and ending the rival tensions.
The challenges facing an Iraqi government include the stagnant economy and neutralizing terrorist activity after U.S. troops leave next year.