London Asharq Al-Awsat- Dr Nadim al-Jabiri, secretary general of the Islamic Virtue Party, denied that his party has disbanded by their religious authority, Grand Ayatollah Muhammad al-Ya’qubi. He noted that “revisions have occurred in the march of the party, given that it is the political arm of the religious authority. This is a routine process so that our march will remain correct.”
For his part, a key leader in the party said yesterday that the party has carried out changes in the work mechanisms of the Political Bureau. These changes are represented in restricting the strategic decisions related to the future of the country to religious authority Grand Ayatollah Muhammad al-Ya’qubi.
Al-Jabiri said the reports about disbanding the Islamic Virtue Party are “part of a feverish war against the party by sides that do not want what is good for Iraq. This war began when I nominated myself for the premiership. I have received writings that carry threats and a distortion of our march.”
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat by phone from his offices in Baghdad less than 24 hours after the circulation of reports about disbanding the Islamic Virtue Party, Al-Jabiri revealed that : “I am now in a meeting with the general secretariat of the party. All that happened is a usual, routine thing, which happens every now and then, since our religious authority asks us to review our work, assess the mistakes that we may make, and draw up policies that are in harmony with the plan of the authority, represented in Grand Ayatollah Muhammad al-Ya’qubi. Such a review was conducted after the elections, which were held at the end of last year, and is being conducted now because of the political crisis gripping the country and not forming a government, after more than three months have passed since the elections were held.”
Al-Jabiri added: “I confirm to you and to the Iraqis, through your newspaper, that our party has not been disbanded, and we are pursuing a constant work mechanism and our religious authority does not intervene in minor issues or the day-to-day work, but intervenes in overall issues.” He pointed out: “Our religious authority has a general vision and does not intervene to support persons. Sheikh Al-Ya’qubi cares about the unity of the (Unified Iraqi) Coalition (UIC) and the supreme national interest. He does not seek to support this or that (person) and does not stoop to the level of daily work, and we reflect this desire through the political reality.”
On the worsening political crisis in Iraq and within the UIC because of the insistence of Ibrahim al-Jaafari, head of the government, whose term has expired, on nominating himself as head of the new government despite the opposition of the other political blocs and key parties within the UIC, Al-Jabiri said: “We did not engage in a struggle with Al-Jaafari, who is the candidate of the UIC until now. We have formed a committee within the UIC to hold dialogue with the blocs, which object to his nomination as head of the government, in order to reach a solution that saves the country from its political crisis. We have not reached any result. The ball is now, as the saying goes, in the court of the UIC, which is the only side that can solve this problem. There is one candidate who did not win the acceptance of the other political blocs. This was one of the reasons for bringing the political process to a halt at this stage in particular. I reiterate that the UIC must solve this problem, which is among its responsibilities.”
The secretary general of the Islamic Virtue Party proposed holding a “meeting for the UIC, provided that it must be open and it should be transmitted live on television to the public, so that the public will see what is happening and so that it will also participate in reaching a solution through its suggestions. On the other hand, if the UIC continues to work far away and behind the scenes, it will not reach concrete results. It is essential to hold an open meeting, which is characterized by high transparency and in which the Iraqis express their opinion in drawing up the policy of the UIC.”
Al-Jabiri said: “The (political) process is now at a standstill or is going on very slowly. The meetings within the UIC are held in an intermittent manner and are separated by wide intervals. The last of these meetings was held yesterday (the day before yesterday), and I did not participate in it for private reasons.” He noted that “Al-Jaafari is still acting in his capacity as the sole candidate of the UIC, and, consequently, he is leaving the issue up to the parliament. In my opinion, as a party within the UIC, we do not want to go to parliament unless we ascertain the success of our steps and guarantee that our candidate will be accepted by the other blocs in parliament.”
Concluding, Al-Jabiri said: “The UIC must resolve this issue as soon as possible, and let this be next week. The country is facing serious problems. It is unreasonable that we should remain like this, while the people is being slaughtered daily. This is a historical responsibility. It is the responsibility of the UIC whether Al-Jaafari stays or not.”
For his part, a key leader in the Virtue Party said yesterday that the party has carried out changes in the work mechanisms of the Political Bureau. These changes are represented in restricting the strategic decisions related to the future of the country to religious authority Grand Ayatollah Muhammad al-Ya’qubi. The Deutsche Press Agency quoted Sabah al-Sa’idi as saying that “the current general secretariat of the Islamic Virtue Party has turned into a caretaker secretariat that exercises all its powers, except for strategic decisions, especially nomination for the premiership for a second time, which is not permitted except by an order from the party’s higher authority, Grand Ayatollah Muhammad al-Ya’qubi.” He added: “The bloc of the Virtue (Party) at the House of Representatives is continuing with its performance and (exercise of) its full powers.”
He said: “We stick to the choice of the UIC and we respect the mechanisms for the nomination of Al-Jaafari for the premiership. We will work to strengthen the unity of the UIC. Not nominating Al-Jabiri for the premiership for a second time is meant to support the unity of the UIC.”
The Virtue Party occupies 15 seats of the seats of the UIC List, which total 128 seats.