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Al-Maliki does not deserve to be Iraqi Prime Minister – Saleh al-Mutlaq | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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London, Asharq Al-Awsat – In a telephone interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Sunni Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq acknowledged that the “political and security situation in Iraq today is extremely complicated” but asserted his hope that “the results of the meetings between the political blocs will [show] light at the end of the tunnel and draw a roadmap for the forthcoming political process”.

Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq, who heads the Iraqi Front for National Dialogue – part of Iyad Allawi’s Iraqiya bloc – revealed that “the general [political] atmosphere clearly reflects a lack of collective satisfaction with the approach and performance of the Iraqi government that is led by Nuri al-Maliki, due to his monopolization of the decision-making process and power on one hand, and the consecration of his dictatorial behaviour by some elements on the other.”

Al-Mutlaq, who was speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat from Kurdistan Region capital Erbil, indicated that “this is a frightening prospect, and the people feel frustration having sacrificed themselves over many long years. The current approach to political operations must be changed”.

In previous comments, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq had described al-Maliki as being “a dictator worse than Saddam Hussein”, which caused a political storm and prompted the Iraqi Prime Minister to demand that parliament issue a vote of no confidence against al-Mutlaq, a prelude to securing his dismissal.

In response to a question concerning how he expected al-Maliki to react to his comments, al-Mutlaq told Asharq Al-Awsat “certainly I knew his reaction and I knew he would be displeased, but if I did not say that then al-Maliki would remain in power and be able to monopolize power to the point where there would be no going back. Therefore I told the truth and this served as a rallying cry to alert the leaders and members of political blocs to the depressing reality the country is experiencing, and that we must take action to find an alternative”.

In a press statement issued earlier this week, State of Law coalition MP Abdul Salam al-Maliki revealed that “the leaders of the parliamentary blocs will meet soon to reach an agreement to withdraw confidence from Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq”.

He indicated that “Iraqi National Alliance leader Ibrahim al-Jaafari has put forward several options for al-Mutlaq” which include “offering his resignation, apologizing, or [the Iraqiya bloc] can choose a replacement”.

However Iraqiya bloc MP Hamid Zobaie has stressed that the Iraqiya bloc has not nominated any alternative to al-Mutlaq for the position of Deputy Prime Minister. He also warned that the Iraqiya bloc “would not put forward the name of any individual from its ranks to replace al-Mutlaq as Deputy Prime Minister”.

For his part, al-Mutlaq explained “I still hold my position as Deputy Prime Minister, and I am working from an office outside of the parliamentary building”.

He added that “the Kurdistan Alliance bloc has refused to participate in a vote of no confidence against me in parliament, just as the Iraqiya bloc has refused to vote or nominate a replacement for me as Deputy Prime Minister”.

In response to al-Jaafari’s proposals, the Deputy Prime Minister told Asharq Al-Awsat “I did not do anything or say anything that merits an apology. I was not appointed to my post by al-Maliki. I was appointed as the result of a political consensus; this is the same way that al-Maliki was appointed Prime Minister. I represent 91 members of parliament, whilst al-Maliki represents 89”.

Al-Mutlaq pointed out that “when al-Maliki says that he cannot work with al-Mutlaq, then he (al-Maliki) has to offer his resignation. I did not ask for my position, and I am not the one clinging on to it”.

He went on to say that al-Maliki has “become strongly attached to his position, and is clinging on to it at the expense of Iraq’s stability, the development and construction of the country, and the welfare of the people. He does not deserve to be the Prime Minister of Iraq”.

The Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister also warned that “it has become difficult to work with al-Maliki. He is a man who has created crises which have not yet been resolved or contained. This is what our experience of working with him in government and his practices over the past four years have illustrated. Our people are suffering from a crisis and this does not serve the process of building and consolidating constitutional institutions”.

Regarding the potential solutions for the political crisis currently afflicting the country, al-Mutlaq said: “This government came to power in accordance with certain agreements, and when these agreements are not met it is only right for the relevant parties to sit and discuss the situation, to decide whether to form a new government, headed by Dr. Iyad Allawi for example – although he has not put himself forward for this position – or any other figure from the National Alliance, with the exception of al-Maliki”.

He indicated that “our Kurdish brothers have the same feelings of concern with regards to what is happening today and the monopolization of power [by al-Maliki]. This is a problem that must be solved by changing the government”.