Members of Iyad Allawi’s Iraqi National Movement have recently voiced optimism that they have made a breakthrough in forming a new Iraqi government. First, on July 8, 2010 Allawi met with Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani, and said that they had agreed upon a national unity coalition. The next day, Allawi claimed that a new government would be completed by August, and that the next prime minister, president, and speaker of parliament would be decided by the end of July. According to the constitution, a speaker and two deputies are supposed to be elected by the new parliament, and then a president who will select the leader of the largest list to put together a government. On July 10, a member of the National Movement told the Iraqi press that they were willing to give away major ministries in return for Allawi to become the next premier. That same day, another National Movement official claimed that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law had finally begun to realize that they would not be the ones to put together a new government. He went on to say that State of Law had recently become more flexible in talks as a result, and that the Kurdish Alliance and the National Alliance had all agreed to a national unity regime. Finally, Asharq al-Awsat reported that Maliki had conceded to an Allawi premiership.
As with previous negotiations over a new government, everything centers around the position of State of Law. As soon as it appeared that the National Movement would win the most seats in the March election, State of Law began protesting about fraud and demanded a recount. It then forged a coalition with the Iraqi National Alliance, and claimed that it was the largest bloc, not Allawi’s list. Those talks went nowhere as both the Sadrists and Supreme Council opposed Maliki returning to power. On July 6, Maliki’s spokesman Ali Dabbagh admitted that the merger with the National Alliance had stalled as a result. Since then State of Law have turned to talks with Allawi. Again, whether that will lead to a ruling coalition all depends upon whether Maliki is willing to step aside and let someone else become premier. If not, then the new round of discussions will go nowhere just as talks between State of Law and the National Alliance did. It’s only when Maliki realizes that his days are numbered that there will be real progress in Iraqi politics.
Alsumaria, “Allawi-Barazani agree on national unity government,” 7/8/10
- “Iraqiya willing to cede government positions for Premiership,” 7/10/10
- “State of Law-National Alliance talks halted,” 7/6/10
Aswat al-Iraq, “Allawi says govt. likely to be formed in August,” 7/9/10
- “Dawlat al-Qanoon acquiesces to the inevitable – source,” 7/10/10
Beirut, Nasir Ali, “Maliki: There is no harm in taking Allawi as prime minister,” Asharq al-Awsat, 7/9/10
Carpenter, J. Scott and Ali, Ahmed, “After Iraq’s Elections: A New Government by September?” Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 3/3/10
Chulov, Martin, “Iraqi elections hit with claims of fraud by opposing parties,” Guardian, 3/16/10
England, Andrew, “Iraqi Shia groups form alliance,” Financial Times, 5/5/10
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