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The Prime Minister's Seat…is it Worth the Fight? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The political system in Iraq is hobbling. Its aim is to include everybody in the political system to guarantee stability and continuity. To represent the real pluralism of the country, the president, prime minister, and parliament speakers are not decided unless the “winning parties” of parliament have agreed to it.

It is a complex game in which personal is mixed with official. Had the matter’s resolution been in direct accordance with the electoral system for the position of prime minister, then the successful candidate would have been known as soon as results were announced. He would have decided on members of the government and would have been in power until the next elections.

The Iraqi political system is a consensual system that expresses the various voices that make up the majority in parliament. This means that the United Iraqi Alliance that won the elections does not rule alone as long as it needs those voices to win that necessary majority in parliament. Nobody is arguing against the Alliance’s right to assign a prime minister however, the disagreement is about Al-Jaafari himself and the situation is becoming more dangerous both politically and on the ground.

Many are asking why Al-Jaafari has not stepped down to be replaced by another member of the party since that has been agreed and as he was given a great opportunity to administer the country during its most crucial time. The political difference between Al-Jaafari and the alternative candidate Adil Abdul Mahdi is limited and does not justify the personal battle that has raged so far. Why can Al-Jaafari not see that stepping down would be in the interest of Iraq as this would secure political continuity and that this move would not degrade the Alliance to which Abdul Mahdi also belongs.

I strongly disagree with Al-Jaafari’s critics who have blamed him for last year’s crisis as these critics have forgotten that he played a decisive role in managing an intricate situation and that he succeeded in pushing for the elections, which some people sought to obstruct for their own electoral interests. The crises that have taken place have been the result of a political situation and not of a prime minister. In fact, Al-Jaafari’s resoluteness has helped to overcome these crises and to push the political wheel forward. He has led Iraq into a new stage but it is now time for him to leave, as he himself may become an issue and the cause of dispute between parties both inside and outside of parliament. It is better for the ruling coalition to pave the way for four successful years by choosing a figure that would rally people around it rather than cause disagreement over it.

There are those who believe that if Al-Jaafari insists on remaining in office with the support of the coalition, then Iraq will continue to be divided. His adversaries will find justifications to doubt, reject and instigate against him and Iraq would not be able to bear this as it becomes a new republic and ends its provisional stage.

Al-Jaafari with his stubbornness was required during the interim period when insistence on holding the elections and resolving the related issues was essential. However, we now face a situation in which matters have been resolved and in which we require a figure on whom everybody is agreed. The Iraqi’s principal demand is that the government begins work and takes hold of the reins in all areas. This would require cooperation on all sides, including those who were less successful in gaining parliamentary seats.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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