Shiite leaders Sunday proposed an alternative list of candidates for the security ministries to present to the full parliament. But Sunni Arab politicians supported Araji's candidacy and said that Shiite opposition to the former officer stemmed from a desire to hand the Interior Ministry to a partisan appointee.
"A person shouldn't be rejected unless there are real reasons for this rejection.... It shouldn't be an excuse to bring their own people for these positions," Sunni negotiator Samarrai said.
Shiite parliament member Haider Abadi said that disagreements between Shiite political parties and their component paramilitary groups were creating challenges for Maliki.
"I think there are now political tensions between the militia wings and the political wings of these groups," Abadi said.
Shiite politicians gave varying timelines for a final decision on security ministry candidates.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, speaking on "Fox News Sunday," said she was optimistic Maliki would complete his Cabinet postings soon.