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Iraq: Al-Maliki Pressured Out of Allawi Meeting | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Baghdad, Asharq Al-Awsat- An informed source who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity revealed that the reason that Iraqi Prime Minister and leader of the State of Law coalition Nuri al-Maliki backed out of a meeting with the leader of the Iraqiya bloc Iyad Allawi, was a visit undertaken by a senior official from one of the neighboring countries. The source said that “the official’s visit which took place two days prior to the meeting that was scheduled to take place between Allawi and al-Maliki was to put pressure to prevent this meeting from taking place, and that is what happened.” He added “when al-Maliki was asked the reasons why the meeting was cancelled, he answered ‘in order to protect the doctrine’ refusing to reveal any more.”

In addition to this, Jamal al-Bateekh, a member of the Iraqiya bloc, accused some political elites – who he refused to name – of preventing the Iraqiya bloc from forming a government. Al-Bateekh confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that “pressure has been placed upon the discriminatory court to remove victorious [Iraqiya] bloc candidates in the city of Diyala.” He also added that “some elites want to profit in an illegal manner in order to form the next government.” Al-Bateekh also told Asharq Al-Awsat that “the Iraqiya bloc has nothing other than its adherence to the constitution and the law in its position as the one that possesses the right to form a government, especially as all political parties are aware of this truth.”

For his part, senior Iraqiya bloc member Osama al-Nujaifi believes that the next government being formed by the Iraqiya bloc is a normal issue, and is not unlikely, especially if the other political forces recognize the Iraqiya bloc’s precedence to form a government as the electoral bloc that won the most number of seats at the elections. He also said that the Kurds recognize this, and that the President of the Kurdistan Region, Massoud Barzani, “welcomed the position that the Iraqiya bloc has the right to form a government in its position as the largest electoral bloc, and the constitutions grants it this right…and this precisely represents the Kurdish opinion.” Al-Nujaifi also pointed out that “the issue of the Iraqiya bloc forming the next government is normal and not improbable, especially if the other forces endorse its precedence to form a new cabinet in accordance with the Constitution.”

As for their dialogue with the State of Law coalition, and the possibility of a meeting between Allawi and al-Maliki, Osama al-Nujaifi confirmed that the meeting “must take place in the coming period.” He also told Asharq Al-Awsat that “the dialogue with the State of Law coalition is ongoing and taking place at the same level [as before], although this is not negotiations but rather this deals with an exchange of views.”

For his part, Jalal al-Din al-Saghir, a member of the National Iraqi Alliance and a senior member in the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq said that in principle the decisions of the federal court are binding and cannot be appealed. As for the Iraqiya bloc having precedence to form a government, he said “if the decision of the courts was that the largest electoral bloc was the one with the most number of votes then it would be possible for the Iraqiya bloc to use this right” however he also said that “not every bloc who receives the highest number of votes is able to form a government, especially if this requires parliamentary votes.”

As for Khair-Allah al-Basri, a member of the State of Law coalition, he said that what is being said now about the Iraqiya bloc being able to form a government is certain. He also confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that “the two blocs [National Iraqi Alliance and the State of Law coalition] have agreed that the prime ministerial candidate would come from within their two blocs.” Asked what would happen if the Iraqiya bloc was tasked with forming a government, he said “in that case the two blocs [National Iraqi Alliance and the State of Law coalition] will refrain from attending and participating in the formation of the next government.”