A leading member of the Kurdish Coalition, parliamentarian Mahmoud Othman, said that his list had come out in support of Nouri al-Maliki’s second term as prime minister. His statement came after a round table meeting in the Kurdish capital of Irbil that included representatives of most of Iraq’s major blocs that occurred on October 27, 2010.
According to Roads To Iraq the Kurdish Coalition and Maliki’s State of Law agreed to a number of points in forming the new government. A Sunni member of Iyad Allawi’s Iraqi National Movement would be given the speaker of parliament, Allawi himself would get a high office, and Maliki would return as premier. Allawi was pressured to accept this deal by leading members of his list including the head of the Iraqi National Dialogue Front Saleh al-Mutlaq, parliamentarian Osama Nujafi who is the brother of Ninewa’s governor Atheel Nujafi that heads the Al-Hadbaa party there, deputy Prime Minister Rafi Issawi, and current Vice President Tariq Hashemi.
There have been reports of the National Movement’s change in position. A member of the list told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on the day of the Irbil meeting that his coalition had dropped its objections to Maliki staying in office. He claimed that Allawi was willing to bend over forming a ruling coalition, and didn’t want to drag out the process anymore.
The problem now appears to be Maliki and Allawi coming to a power-sharing agreement. The National Movement is allegedly asking for a committee to go through all the laws passed by Maliki since the March 2010 election, the presidency for Allawi, and no objections to their choices for ministers. State of Law is said to reject all those demands saying that no committee has the authority to review ratified laws, and that the National Movement will be denied any security positions. The Kurds are also asking for current President Jalal Talabani to keep his job. On the other hand, they are demanding a national unity government that includes Allawi.
Whether this was just the latest unfounded rumor floating around Iraq or if there really was a breakthrough in Irbil is unknown. The Kurds, as the largest uncommitted bloc left in parliament, do hold the future of the premiership in their hands. Whoever they pick, will become Iraq’s leader. After Moqtada al-Sadr decided to support Maliki earlier in October, momentum shifted in the premier’s favor. Allawi’s inability to draw any major parties to his side besides the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council and Fadhila parties that only hold fifteen seats between them, seemed to seal his fate. It seems likely then that the Kurds will eventually support Maliki, and then together they will try to bring Allawi into a national unity government as the next step whether that happened in the Irbil meeting or not.
Al-Jaff, Wissam, “Iraqi Shiites bloc prepare to participate in Erbil meeting,” AK News, 10/27/10
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, “Key Iraqi Bloc Signals Readiness To Compromise In Coalition Talks,” 10/27/10
Al-Rafidayn, Al-Zaman, Alsumaria TV, “Kurds Support Al-Maliki, Urge Al-Iraqiya to Join National Partnership Government,” MEMRI Blog, 10/28/10
Roads To Iraq, “The “Round-Table” results,” 10/28/10