Baghdad/Najaf, Asharq Al-Awsat- Sources inside Al-Iraqiya List, which is led by former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, have asserted that the media leaks claiming that US Vice President Joe Biden succeeded in persuading Arab and non-Arab countries to stop backing Al-Iraqiya are untrue and baseless and they also called baseless the reports attributed to a leading figure in the State of Law Coalition [SLC], which is led by outgoing Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, that the latter cited Biden for these remarks and that the countries responded positively apart from Saudi Arabia.
Muhammad Allawi, the leading Al-Iraqiya List figure, stressed to Asharq Al-Awsat that the message conveyed to the US side was that the List has the right to form the government and that it would not participate in any government led by Al-Maliki. He pointed out that the US side, as represented by Biden, changed its approaches during his recent visit and stopped raising the issue of supporting the SLC, adding the US side even supports the formation of the government as quickly as possible without going into details and prefers Al-Iraqiya without specifying to whom the post should be given and without exerting pressures in this or that direction.
On his part, Khalid al-Asadi, a leading SLC figure, did not deny or confirm the statement of a leading SLC figure about Al-Maliki citing Biden but asserted to Asharq Al-Awsat that the SLC does not talk about something it knows nothing about or attributes remarks to Al-Maliki inside meetings and stressed that all the SLC leaders talk publicly.
On the other hand, the two leaders of the National Alliance, the SLC and the Iraqi National Alliance [INA] which is led by Ammar al-Hakim, are trying to reach an agreement over the mechanism for choosing the Alliance’s candidate for prime minister after limiting it to Adel Abdel Mahdi and Al-Maliki. Informed sources confirmed that the disagreements between the two blocs over many issues have exacerbated, among them the percentage of voting for one candidate and also adding to the committee of wise men a new person from outside the two blocks as an arbiter, specifically from the Kurdish Alliance. A third disagreement revolves around the proposal of a compromise candidate if the two blocks failed to agree on Abdel Mahdi and Al-Maliki.
Al-Maliki’s SLC wants acceptance of a mechanism for a 65 percent vote while the INA is insisting on 80 percent, particularly following information indicating that the SLC succeeded in attracting two sides from inside the INA and secured their voting for Al-Maliki. The two sides are Al-Fadilah bloc and the Reform Trend led by Al-Jaafari who tacitly announced his rejection of Abdel Mahdi’s nomination claiming the reason was the hastiness of the voting.
On his part, Haydar al-Suwaydi, a leading member of Al-Hakim’s Islamic Supreme Council, disclosed to Asharq Al-Awsat that a proposal was made yesterday to add a seventh arbiter from outside the two blocs to the committee of wise men of six members representing the INA and SLC, one preferably from the Kurdish Alliance so as to be the decisive arbiter if the votes were equal. “But the SLC objected to this mechanism saying the issue is an internal matter that concerns the National Alliance and there is no need to introduce elements from other coalitions.” Regarding the proposal to have a compromise candidate other than Al-Maliki and Abdel Mahdi, Al-Suwaydi said this proposal is on the National Alliance’s negotiations table if the two sides failed to agree on a mechanism for going to parliament with one candidate.