London, Asharq Al-Awsat- Asharq al-Awsat can exclusively reveal from official sources that negotiations between the Iraqiya coalition, led by former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and the National Coalition, led by Ammar al-Hakim, President of the Supreme Islamic Council, are heading towards an alliance, based on the premise that both Allawi, the Iraqiya candidate, and Dr. Adel Abdel Mahdi, a leader of the National Coalition, will [alternately] hold the positions of Prime Minister and Vice President of the Republic, according to a principle of sharing the mandate period, which is two years each.
Sources in the two negotiations committees from both coalitions disclosed to Asharq Al-Awsat by telephone from Baghdad yesterday that “negotiations between (Al-Iraqiya) and the INA are proceeding well, particularly after Al-Sadr Trend which is led by Muqtada al-Sadr backed down on its objection to nominating Abdel Mahdi for prime minister”, adding that “Al-Sadr Trend had objected to the IISC’s nomination of Abdel Mahdi as the INA’s candidate for prime minister.” The sources, which preferred to remain unidentified, pointed out that the “INA, where Al-Sadr Trend has the upper hand in the decision because it has 40 seats in parliament, reached the conclusion to nominate Abdel Mahdi. This was opposed by the State of Law Coalition [SLC] which is allied to them under the National Alliance as it is insisting on nominating Nuri al-Maliki, the SLC and outgoing prime minister.” They noted that “Al-Sadr Trend’s agreement to nominate Abdel Mahdi came after the meeting between the leading IISC figure and Muqtada al-Sadr in Qom, Iran.” They added that “Al-Iraqiya List reached deadlock with the SLC and their dialogues went into a vicious circle after the SLC’s working paper underlined its nomination of Al-Maliki for prime minister which Al-Iraqiya rejects because this nomination denies its right to exercise its constitutional right of forming the government since it was the first winning list in the legislative elections.”
The sources went on to say that “the last meeting between Al-Iraqiya and SLC’s two negotiations committees was held last night (day before yesterday) during which Al-Iraqiya refused to discuss Al-Maliki’s name as the candidate. The meeting also took a negative turn after Al-Maliki’s list rejected Al-Iraqiya’s proposal to cancel the Accountability and Justice Commission and hand over its dossiers to the Iraqi judiciary, to have its cases dealt with through the courts, and to try any former Baathist who carried out any bad practices against Iraqis according to the established laws. But the SLC rejected this vehemently and insisted on keeping the Commission like a sword hanging over the heads of others.” According to the sources, “the meeting veered from its usual framework and saw arguments between the two sides over this issue and another one concerning the SLC’s accusation that the Iraqi resistance is terrorism and its refusal to acknowledge there is an honest resistance.” They also said that “the road is now paved before Al-Iraqiya and INA to reach and establish an alliance that includes in it the Kurdish Alliance which both Allawi and Al-Hakim consider a principal and important partner in governing Iraq and the decision-making process and as the Alliance which is closest to them.” They pointed out that “Allawi’s visit today (yesterday) to Arbil and his meeting with Kurdistan Region President Masud Barzani came within the framework of discussing the establishment of an alliance between Al-Iraqiya, the INA, and the Kurdish Alliance.”
According to the same sources, “the closest scenario being discussed is having Allawi and Abdel Mahdi sharing the leadership of the next government, with each serving two years, without going into the details of who will serve first and with the important observation that members of government would not be liable to change when the prime minister is changed. The government’s plans and programs would also be implemented in accordance with the plans that the three members of the alliance agree upon.”
On the reason why Al-Iraqiya was unable to reach such an agreement with the SLC, the sources explained that “there are deep fears from Al-Maliki’s insistence on remaining in his post after taking over for two years if he was to serve the first two-year term or would remain in control if he served the second term, influencing the next elections and not recognizing their results, exactly as is happening today since the political process is being delayed because of his insistence on not practicing the peaceful rotation of power.” They asserted that “we have clearly discovered, as all the Iraqis have felt, that Al-Maliki does not think or imagine himself outside the prime minister’s post and that he refuses to acknowledge the others’ rights to form the next government. This has created big security problems for the Iraqis claiming dozens of innocent people daily. In the absence of the state, everything is being ruined, especially the security, services, economic, judicial, and even social situations.” They pointed out that “behind the scenes of the talks between the SLC and INA and following the latter’s categorical rejection of Al-Maliki’s nomination, the names of Ali al-Adib, Al-Dawa Party’s deputy leader, and Haydar al-Abadi, a leading member of Al-Maliki’s party, were discussed as the SLC’s candidates for prime minister instead of Al-Maliki. But these ideas just remain proposals without becoming an official nomination. Al-Maliki is willing to remove from his way any member of his party or list if he felt he was seriously threatening his post; especially as he is the one who made the famous statement that “there is no better candidate than me for prime minister).”