Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Allawi Gives Up Forming Govt As Iraqi Elite Fail Again


Mohammed Allawi gave a speech apologizing to the public for failing to form a government and stepped down as the prime minister designate. The ruling parties are still divided about how to move forward leaving the government in continued crisis.

Iraq’s parliament fell short four times to find a quorum to vote on Allawi’s cabinet leading him to give up on creating a new government. Allawi was supported by Moqtada al-Sadr’s Sairoon and the Fatah list headed by Badr’s Hadi Amiri. His main critics were the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Iraqi Forces list of Speaker Mohammed al-Halbusi. Allawi said he wanted a non-partisan cabinet, while the KPD and Iraqi Forces wanted to maintain the quota system to assure them of positions, and were afraid that Sairoon and Fatah would dominate Allawi’s administration. Some of the other Shiite parties were divided over the matter as well. The result was parliament was never able to get enough lawmakers to vote on the cabinet.

This was the country’s latest political failure. Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi was selected in 2018 as an independent. With no political party behind him he proved feckless in the face of the demands of the party leaders with his only accomplishment being the passing of  the budget. He resigned in November 2019 in the face of national protests demanding change. Allawi too was an independent. Sairoon and Fatah said that he was only going to have a limited mandate that they set for him such as removing the U.S. military from the country and scheduling new elections, but he talked about carrying out widespread reforms, which didn’t endear him to many politicians. The larger problem is that the ruling class is set in its ways. They run an oil rich state which makes them independent of the public because they don’t rely upon them for taxes despite the democratic system. Now they are being called on to be accountable, which they have never been. In the face of massive protests they simply wanted to replace one figurehead premier with another while maintaining all of their power and privilege. The result is that Baghdad finds itself in political limbo unwilling to change in the face of a popular revolt.


Al Aalem, “A political source likely to give confidence to the Allawi government tomorrow, after the concession to Barzani and Halbousi,” 2/29/20

Ahmed, Hassan Ali, “Iraq’s PM designate mired in Cabinet dilemma,” Al Monitor, 2/28/20

Asharq Al-Awsat, “Iraq: Last Minute Negotiations to Form Government,” 3/1/20

Buratha News, “The text of Mohammed Allawi’s letter to the President of the Republic regarding his apology for assigning the government,” 3/2/20

Ghafuri, Lawk, “Kurds strike deal with Baghdad opposition in a bid to block cabinet formation,” Rudaw, 3/1/20

Laessing, Ulf, Aboulenein, Ahmed, “Iraq power vacuum: acting PM steps aside after designated successor quits,” Reuters, 3/2/20

Al Masalah, “The Amiri bloc is demanding early elections within 6 months, with the Abdul Mahdi government remaining,” 3/2/20
- “The President of the Republic receives Al-Hakim and Al-Maliki and announces that he began his consultations to choose a new Prime Minister,” 3/2/20

NINA, “Leaks About Scenario Of A New Deal To Assign Another Candidate To Replace Allawi,” 3/1/20
- “The State of Law Coalition renews its position not to participate in the new government,” 2/29/20

Al-Salhy, Suadad, “Iraq: political factions wrangle over government formation before vote,” The National, 2/23/20

Xinhua, “Iraqi parliament fails to meet to vote on new cabinet,” 2/27/20


gj/bb said...

who are the "iraqi forces" on the spectrum?

Joel Wing said...

The Sunni parties split with some aligning with the pro-Iran Fatah alliance. This was supposedly partially achieved by giving out bribes. The Iraqi Forces are most of the remaining Sunni parties and are with Speaker Halbusi They believe in working with the central govt.

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