Baghdad, Asharq Al-Awsat- Informed sources within the National Alliance that traditionally included the Iraqi National Alliance [INA], led by Ammar al-Hakim, and the State of Law Coalition [SLC], led by Nuri al-Maliki, the Prime Minister whose term has expired, said that the Al-Dawa Party has unanimously decided to choose an alternative for Al-Maliki as a candidate to head the next government.
Al-Hakim’s alliance stopped its negotiations with Al-Maliki’s coalition over a week ago and demanded changing Al-Maliki and submitting a candidate who is acceptable by the components of the National Alliance, particularly the Al-Sadr Trend and the other blocs as a condition for resuming the talks. The sources said that the name suggested as an alternative for Al-Maliki has thus far not been decided, but hinted that the candidate “will exclusively be from the Al-Dawa Party” and that Al-Maliki “has shown leniency in this respect for the first time.”
A prominent leader in the National Alliance who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity said that, “We are waiting for an official announcement on this subject before we announce our position on it.” It is noteworthy that the Al-Sadr Trend, in particular, has announced its reservation on any alternative candidate from the Al-Dawa Party. It is not clear if it will accept this important concession by the Al-Dawa Party.
Meanwhile, the sources disclosed that “there is a desire by the independents within the SLC to find an alternative for Al-Maliki, however none are willing to present themselves as an alternative, since Al-Maliki received the majority of votes of his list, which gave the chance for many (about 25 members of his coalition) to win seats in the new parliament.”
For his part, Amir al-Kinani, secretary general of the Ahrar bloc, which is affiliated with the Al-Sadr Trend, said that the SLC is “obliged to change Al-Maliki”. In a statement to Asharq al-Awsat, he stressed that “Rejecting Al-Maliki is something final for the National Alliance.” He added: “I think that time is over for the SLC, particularly since the dialogues of the INA and the Al-Iraqiya Bloc, led by Iyad Allawi, have reached serious and advance stages, therefore, it is not easy to change our position and our negotiations with Al-Iraqiya.”
In the meantime, Sami Shurash, member of the Kurdish negotiation delegation in Baghdad, said that “the delegation has presented a plan for the leaders of the Iraqi political blocs with the aim of ending the crisis of forming the next government. The coalition of the Kurdish blocs is waiting for the reply of the leaders of these blocs on the proposal to start forming the political alliances that ensure the formation of a national partnership government and ridding the country of the suffocating crisis caused by the delay in forming the government.” He told Asharq Al-Awsat that the proposed plan “calls for the distribution of the executive branches of government on the prime minister, the premiership, and the presidency of the Political Council and National Security, in addition to some sovereign ministries.” He added: “In case this plan is accepted, which will divide the authority and will not keep it in the hands of one person, it would be possible to start decisive negotiations to form alliances between the Iraqi forces and blocs in a way that ensures the formation of a national partnership government that includes all parties without marginalization or exclusion.” Shurash said that “the acceptance of the leaders of the political blocs of the Kurdish plan would be the basis on which the coalition of the Kurdish blocs will decide its stand on the next political alliances.”
Meanwhile, the two leaders, Jalal Talabani and Masud Barzani, discussed the crisis of forming the Iraqi Government in a meeting held in Arbil on Friday. The meeting was attended by Nejervan Barzani, deputy president of the Kurdistan Democratic Party and Kusrat Rasul Ali, deputy secretary general of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. The two presidents emphasize the importance of forming a real national partnership government that includes all the Iraqi political blocs and parties.