Baghdad, Asharq Al-Awsat- Hajim al-Husni, the State of Law Coalition [SLC] spokesman, has stated that the talks between the SLC led by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and the Iraqi National Alliance [INA] led Ammar al-Hakim’s Islamic Supreme Council [IISC] to form the largest bloc in parliament and hence form the next Iraqi government has reached advanced stages. The statement came amid conflicting statements by officials from both sides about the validity of this alliance.
Al-Husni told Asharq Al-Awsat that the “talks between the SLC and INA started a long time ago with the aim of forming an alliance from which comes the largest bloc in parliament.” He stressed that the “talks have reached advanced stages and only partial details remain which need to be discussed so that the way will be paved before the political alliance between the two coalitions.” Regarding these details, he said: “There is an agreement in principle to form the largest bloc but there are details concerning the agreement between the two sides and the final touches will be put on them during the coming days so as to declare this alliance which is now taken for granted by the SLC and INA.” One of the most notable obstacles impeding the alliance between the two sides is probably the naming of the next prime minister. The SLC is insisting on naming Al-Maliki for a second term while forces in the INA reject his nomination, among them Al-Sadr Trend.
As to choosing the next prime minister, the SLC spokesman said “the method will be within the framework of a mechanism that the two sides agree on and this allows all the parties inside this alliance to present their candidates. The person who will lead the next government will be chosen under this mechanism.” Regarding the INA’s conditions for having an alliance with the SLC, Al-Husni said “no conditions were imposed. The talk is about the government program, the mechanism for forming it, and making the decisions through it”, adding that “there are no conditions and no concessions between the parties that will forge an alliance to form the largest parliamentary bloc.”
The remarks come amid frantic competition between Al-Maliki’s SLC which won 89 seats in parliament and his rival the former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi who has two more seats than Al-Maliki to forge alliances in order to form the next government. On his part, Muhammad Tamim, an INA leading member, stressed that the next 48 hours would see the announcement of the alliance between the INA and SLC to become the largest parliamentary bloc. Reuters cited Khalid al-Asadi, a SLC leading member, as saying that Al-Maliki was still its candidate for prime minister but the bargaining was continuing. He added that an agreement on Al-Maliki or another candidate might be reached “but we will not impose the prime minister we nominate on the others.”