Baghdad, Asharq Al-Awsat – It seems that there is a new dispute looming in the political scene in Iraq, following the crisis to form a new government and name a prime minister that has raged over the past 7 months. This comes after Nuri al-Maliki, the leader of the State of Law coalition [SLC], was put forward as the prime ministerial candidate of the National Alliance – that is made up of the SLC and Ammar al-Hakim’s National Iraqi Alliance [NIA] – with this new crisis being over this nomination, according to Mohamed al-Bayati, a senior member of the Badr Organization, which is affiliated to the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq [ISCI] that is also led by al-Hakim.
In a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat, al-Bayati confirmed that the absence of the ISCI and the Islamic Virtue party from the National Alliance meeting to nominate al-Maliki as its candidate was not arbitrary, and the National Alliance leadership are well aware that there is no consensus on al-Maliki’s nomination and that the ISCI and Islamic Virtue party oppose this. In addition to this, leaks indicate that the Sadrist trend had given al-Maliki a period of around 20 days to announce the formation of his government in partnership with other political blocs, and that should al-Maliki not be able to announce this in the allotted time then the Sadrist trend will be absolved from its support of al-Maliki.
Al-Bayati also told Asharq Al-Awsat that this time frame is set to expire in the coming days and that the Dawa party that is led by Nuri al-Maliki will find itself alone. He said that if the Sadrist trend abandons its alliance with the Dawa party “then al-Maliki’s nomination will have returned to square one.” Al-Bayati also confirmed that the position of the ISCI, the Badr Organization, and the Islamic Virtue party “remains as it was, and did not waver with regards to rejecting this nomination [of al-Maliki for prime minister] which was not agreed upon by all blocs, and that everybody should sit down and conduct dialogue to find the best way to get out of this crisis.”
Sources in the Sadrist trend previously confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that Moqtada al-Sadr has given al-Maliki a deadline that is set to end on 15 October to determine the positions of the political blocs towards his nomination and begin the process to form a national partnership government that does not exclude any section of Iraq or any electoral bloc. However Nassar al-Rubaie, a senior member of the Sadrist trend denied the existence of any deadline to Asharq Al-Awsat, and stressed that dialogue would take place with all electoral blocs in order to reach a good outcome.
For its part, the Iraqiya bloc that is led by Iyad Allawi announced that its negotiations with the SLC were disappointing after it was revealed that the SLC do not believe in the principle of participation in power. Iraqiya bloc spokesman Haidar al-Mulla told Asharq Al-Awsat that “leaders in the Dawa party, and some leaders in the SLC, believe in the monopolization of power in an attempt to return the country to a single party autocratic system.” Al-Mulla confirmed that “a new step towards dictatorship is being made in the corridors of the Dawa party” however he also indicated that some leaders in the SLC “identify with the principles of power sharing, and decision making including all components of Iraqi society and all victorious electoral blocs; and these leaders will decide to follow good political action and leave the SLC.”