Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has said he will run for a third term, in defiance of growing calls for him to step down.
Maliki has come under growing pressure to step down for allowing Sunni extremists to overrun some regions of the country.
Fierce fighting in Iraq between the insurgents and government troops has been underway since June.
Government forces continued to launch attacks on Friday to retake the rebel-controlled northern city of Tikrit, but have faced strong resistance.
Sunnis and Kurds are blaming Maliki for allowing the sectarian forces to gain ground.
Maliki issued a statement on Friday on state-run TV saying he will not abandon his candidacy for the post of prime minister.
The first session of Iraq's new parliament was adjourned on Tuesday after Sunnis and Kurds walked out in protest.
Jul. 4, 2014 - Updated 21:24 UTC