BAGHDAD, (Reuters) – Sunni Arab groups said on Thursday they would not discuss forming a new Iraqi government until the United Nations reviews results of this month”s election, a refusal likely to increase political tension.
Leaders from the main Sunni electoral bloc, the Iraqi Accordance Front, are expected to meet Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and other officials in Kurdistan in a coming days.
Iraq”s most powerful Shi”ite Islamist politician, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, met Kurdish leaders in the north on Tuesday, opening a series of talks intended to ease friction over election results and begin building a governing coalition.
But Sunni Arabs groups said that they would not get involved in any talks on government before the results are fully cleared.
"They might go on Friday but only to look for solutions for the political crisis. They will not talk about the government," Accordance Front spokesman Dhafer al-Ani said.
Disappointed Sunni and secular parties have demanded a rerun of the Dec. 15 election and threatened to boycott parliament, while tens of thousands of their supporters have taken to the streets to protest the results.
Partial results have showed the ruling Shi”ite Islamist Alliance has done better than expected, particularly in Baghdad, where it took 59 percent of the vote compared with just 19 percent for its nearest Sunni rivals and 14 percent for former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi”s broad secular coalition.
"There will be no negotiations about forming the new government," Hussein al-Falluji, a candidate on the Accordance list said, referring to the upcoming meetings in Kurdistan.
"We will not have any dialogue about it, not with the Kurds and not with the Shi”ites. Results should be reviewed and announced first," he said.
Electoral Commission chief Hussein Hindawi said the commission would welcome a U.N. review, which might ease political tension. He also said a few ballot boxes out of more than 30,000 might be ruled invalid due to irregularities but this would not affect the overall result.