London, Asharq Al-Awsat- Dr. Fuad Masum, member of the Kurdistan Coalition, has affirmed that the Kurdish leadership could resolve the current political fallout in Iraq because of the objection of political entities to the results of the elections that took place earlier this month and their accusation of the Higher Electoral Commission of forgery and violations, which they described as "serious."
He told Asharq al-Awsat from his office in Kurdistan, "The solution of the problem must take place through efforts to form a national unity government with a broader participation of Iraqi political parties in which the Sunni Arabs would have an important and effective role."
Masum, a prominent Kurdish negotiator, said, "The leadership of the Kurdistan Coalition, represented by President Jalal Talabani and President of the Kurdistan Region Masud Barzani, will hold a series of meetings with the main political blocs. The next meeting will be between the Kurdish leadership and Abdulaziz al-Hakim, leader of the Shiite bloc (the Unified Iraqi Coalition). This will be followed by a meeting with the leader of the liberal bloc, Dr. Iyad Allawi (the National Iraqi List) and then with leaders of the Sunni Arabs (the Iraqi Accord Front)."
Masum added, "In these meetings, we will discuss the formation of a national unity government representing all the political parties in the next parliament and in which the national interest should take precedence over election results. The Sunni Arabs will have an important and effective role in this government."
Masum explained, "The Kurdistan Coalition has not formed an alliance with any party to establish a broad front against other fronts in the parliament. Our alliance will be with all the political blocs. The government”s program should be clear and agreed upon in advance before it is announced so that problems and obstacles will not stand in the way of this government."
Masum said, "At first, we will have bilateral meetings. Then, we will convene a meeting with all the blocs in parliament to solve all the problems." Admitting forgery and violations in the elections, he said, "Yes, forgery and violations have taken place, and not only one side had committed the forgeries or violations."
Masum explained that President Jalal Talabani is the most likely candidate for the position of president of the republic. Although he (Talabani) is reluctant to nominate himself, he is the preferred candidate of the other political entities. He said that Talabani has his own view on the question of assuming the presidential office. He has no need for the position. He wants a position through which he can serve Iraq and the Iraqi people. This means becoming an influential and effective head of state with wide-ranging powers. We think that the agreements with the other political blocs will include the issue of presidential powers.
The member of the Political Bureau of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and member of the Kurdistan Coalition said that the cabinet formation or the distribution of ministries has not been discussed yet. This will take place following the series of meetings with the other political blocs. I think that the matter will take some time. This is not an easy task, because we must reach agreement on everything and discuss all the important issues, which could stand as an obstacle in the way of the government. He affirmed the Kurdistan Coalition”s insistence on retaining the Foreign Ministry portfolio, and "we will not give it up."
Regarding the future priorities, Masum said, "First, we must elect the parliament”s presidium–that is, the speaker and his two deputies–and then the president of the republic. The president then will designate a prime minister to form a government."
Masum explained, "Although we are trying to give precedence to national interest over election results, this does not mean disregarding election results. The Unified Iraqi Coalition will have the right to nominate a prime minister. If disagreements take place among their candidates or the Coalition failed to propose a suitable candidate, another candidate from outside the Coalition would be proposed." He stressed the importance of the role of Former Iraqi Prime Minister Dr. Iyad Allawi, saying that Dr. Allawi and his liberal list must have an important role in the next government.