London, Asharq Al-Awsat – In this interview, Asharq Al-Awsat talks to the head of the Iraqiya National List, Iyad Allawi. It was announced on Friday evening that the Iraqiya bloc won the most seats in Iraq’s March 7 parliamentary elections.
Q) How would you describe your relationship with the Kurds?
A) We have deep and historical ties with our Kurdish brothers, as we have been allies, partners and companions on a long path of struggle spanning decades. Of course we might disagree in some areas but we agree on a lot more. Honestly, we consider Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, Muslims, Sunni or Shia, Christians, Sabians and Yazidis and all other segments and elements of Iraqi society partners in this country. None of these partners or citizens is above the other.
Q) Will you ally with the Kurdistan Alliance to form a parliamentary bloc?
A) We are serious about the alliance with our brothers in the Kurdistan Alliance and we will not forget the important national position of the Kurds as they nurtured the Iraqi opposition from the beginning of the 1990s and opened headquarters for opposition parties and made large sacrifices in this regard as the future of the opposition in Kurdistan was subjected to many problems with the former government.
Q) Will you support President Jalal Talabani’s nomination for a second presidential term?
A) Of course. It seems that President Talabani is the Kurdistan Alliance’s candidate for the presidency and we respect this nomination and waiting for this nomination to be made official. In the Iraqiya List we strongly contributed to the election of our brother Jalal Talabani as he is a national Iraqi figure. In general, authoritative positions will not be subjected to political quotas whether presidencies or [other] important posts. I repeat that we are waiting for the official nomination from the Kurdistan Alliance for President Jalal Talabani’s second term and this will be part of the dialogue and discussions that will take place after the final election results and there will be a political alliance that will include all centers.
Q) There is talk about the possibility of the National Iraqi Alliance merging with the State of Law coalition, what is your comment in this regard?
A) Each electoral bloc is free to make its decisions and they (the National Iraqi Alliance and the Daawa Party which is headed by Nouri al Maliki, head of the State of Law coalition) were allies. In fact they formed a large parliamentary bloc and this ended for reasons relating to management. I believe that restoring this coalition today will be unsuccessful, this is my personal opinion, [but] they are free to decide themselves.
Q) Don’t you think that such a merger or alliance between the National Iraqi Alliance and the State of Law would be based on sectarianism?
A) If that is the case then, God forbid, the situation will go back to square one with the formation of sectarian axes. In my discussions with the brothers in the Supreme Islamic Council and the Sadrist current I didn’t feel that they were willing to ally themselves based on sectarianism. Rather, we felt they were keen to ally themselves based on nationalism because they realized that coalitions (founded on sectarianism) did not succeed and they discovered that the Shia have a large and influential national, historical role.
Q) Has there been any talk or discussions with the State of Law coalition headed by Nouri al Maliki?
A) We do not have any ties to the State of Law coalition and we do not know their approaches. Our conversations are limited to the Kurdistan Alliance, the Sadrists and the Supreme Islamic Council and other Iraqi national political bodies and individuals. We want to form an Iraqi national government away from any kind of sectarian and political quotas in order to implement a program to build an institutional state, a state that respects the judiciary and the law and achieves services for the Iraqis and provides [good] economic conditions, a state that relies on Iraqi capabilities and works on returning migrants to their homes and their nation. We hope that the Iraqi electorate voted for this program and God willing the Iraqi citizen will raise his head [with pride].