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Allawi, Kurds and Shiites May Form Government Without Maliki
2010-08-07 11:12:10

As the two leading Iraqi coalitions have hitherto failed to reach an agreement over the formation of a new government, Iyad Allawi’s Iraqiya may form a government joined by the Kurds and the grand Shiite coalition, putting aside the coalition of the caretaker Prime Minister Nuri Maliki.

A spokesman of Iraqiya says that their discussions have advanced with the Kurds in the north of Iraq, and the Shiites who have created the Iraqi National Alliance including movements such as anti-American Sadr Movement.

A senior leader of the Sadr Movement agreed that her coalition, Iraqiya and Kurds were more likely to end up forming a government.

“The three coalitions can form the future Iraqi government without the participation of the State of Law,” said Haidar Mullah, Iraqiya spokesman.

“The three are closer to one another in their views.”

Balqis Guli Muhammad, senior leader of the Sadr Movement, having 40 members of parliament, said that Maliki’s insistence on wining another term, had led other coalitions to start more fruitful discussions.

“What has become apparent now is that the Kurds, national alliance and Iraqi list may form a government,” said Muhammad.

“Given that, the prime minister will be from Iraqiya, president will be a Kurd, and the parliament speaker will be a member of the [Iraqi] National Alliance.”

If this happens, Iraq will have the most inclusive elections in Iraqi history joined by the Shiites, Kurds and Sunnis.

Iraq had held its second parliamentary elections on March 7 since 2003. The election results failed to produce a majoritarian winner leading to a deadlock as none of the several winning coalitions has been ready to compromise.

Iraqiya came first in the elections held almost five months ago with 92 seats, only 2 seats ahead of Maliki’s State of Law. But to form a government, one needs to have 163, half the number of 325-seat parliament plus one.

This political deadlock is coincided with the deterioration of security. The government figures said that 535 people were killed last month, the highest since May 2008 when 563 died.

On Wednesday, the U.N. Security Council urged Iraq’s elected legislature to form an “inclusive” government “as quickly as possible,”

But no one, including Iyad Allawi, still expects a government to be formed until after the holy month of Ramadan beginning from August 10.

Despite statements that Iraqiya and Kurds are likely to form a government, it still remains unclear how possible it is for Kurds and Iraqiya to agree on certain Kurdish demands with which most of the Sunnis joining Allawi’ coalition bitterly disagree.

One of the demands is the implementation of Article 140 of the Iraqi Constitution which calls for a referendum to determine the fate of the disputed regions like the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

The Sunnis fear that the implementation of the article could put Kirkuk under the control of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

On Wednesday, while addressing Kurdistan Women’s Union, President of Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani, reiterated that Kirkuk had been a key topic in his discussions with Iraqi parties.

“Kurds should be one of the main components of the new Iraqi government. We have reached a good understanding with the Kurds” said Mullah, of Iraqiya.

“We will declare our candidate for the position of prime minister soon. If the State of Law does not accept him, we will form a government with Iraqiya” said Muhammad Mashkuri, senior member of the Shiite Iraqi National Alliance.

Maliki’s coalition says that no government can be formed excluding them.

“Prime Minister of the new Iraqi government is our right. It cannot be from other entities” said Izzat Shabandar, senior leader of the State of Law.

“We can form a government with the Kurds and the National Alliance, if we want to,” he added.

But, as meeting between Maliki and Alawi have seen no progress, Maliki is more expected to pay the prize.

Not only the Sunnis, the Kurds also are not that fond of Maliki after he did not keep the pledges he made to the Kurds regarding Kirkuk.

If the Shiites keep refusing Maliki to become prime minister for another term, Maliki has to allow either the Shiites to lead the government or Allawi.

While the former choice is what Iran eagers to see, the latter is preferred by the US. “It is hard to form government with the State of Law,” said Mullah.

“Our views are way in disagreement with each other.”

By Namo Abdulla