Iyad Allawi, the former Iraqi prime minister, is the secretary general of the National Accord Movement.

Challenging al-Maliki

Jasim Azawi, who presents Al Jazeera's 'Inside Iraq' programme, said: "This is significant but it is not major news.

"Because initially the alliance that was supposed to have been launched several weeks back was supposed to have included a few other political parties.

"This is a question of a little bit too late, and I wonder whether they will be able to cut the momentum of the prime minister Nuri al-Maliki, who did very well in provincial elections earlier this year. This is meant to challenge him."

Awazi said that the coalition was appealing to Iraqi nationalism.

"They are trying to appeal to the liberals and the seculars, and more importantly the unrepresented Iraqi Ba'athists."

Iraq is scheduled to hold parliamentary elections on January 16, but there is growing fear that the vote could be delayed due to legislators' inability to pass a revised election law.