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Sadr ready to drop Al-Maliki | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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London, Asharq Al-Awsat – An official source in the National Iraqi Alliance (NIA) revealed that the Sadr Movement is working earnestly to form the next Iraqi government, pointing out that its efforts have reached the stage of naming a successor to Nuri al-Maliki, the current Prime Minister.

The source, in a telephone interview conducted with Asharq al-Awsat from Baghdad yesterday, said that “the Sadr Movement has recently stepped up its meetings to discuss the possibility of forming the next government, whether this means working to withdraw confidence from the current al-Maliki government or after the next elections”. He added “In all likelihood, they are working to prepare the next Prime Minister in the event that the other blocs insist on withdrawing confidence from the al-Maliki government, in order to salvage the political, economic and security situation in the country, and out of the interests of the Iraqi people”.

The NIA is composed of various Shiite blocs, forces and figures, including the Dawa party – part of the State of Law Coalition led by al-Maliki, the Sadr Movement led by Muqtada al-Sadr, the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council led by headed by Ammar al-Hakim, the Islamic Virtue Party led by Minister of Justice Hassan al-Shammari, the National Reform Trend (with one seat in parliament) led by former Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, in addition to Hussein Shahristani, the Deputy Prime Minister, and other Shiite figures. After the most recent legislative elections that took place in 2010, the NIA supported al-Maliki remaining in office and forming a government to counter the Iraqiya bloc led by Iyad Allawi, the former Prime Minister of Iraq who had won the most votes in the elections. The Iraqiya bloc accused the federal supreme court of being biased towards al-Maliki after it granted the NIA the right to form a government, rather than the bloc that had won the elections.

The official NIA source added that “The Sadr Movement has agreed in principle to nominate Qusay al-Suhail, Vice Chairman of the Iraqi Council of Representatives (parliament) to be the next Prime Minister instead of al-Maliki”. He added that “there are substantive grounds for nominating al-Suhail, most notably that the Sadr Movement considers him to be close to the Prime Minister, just as the Dawa Party and the State of Law bloc consider al-Suhail to be practically one of them, and his nomination would reassure them and al-Maliki that the next Prime Minster will not open the files relating to security failure, corruption, detentions and poor services, all of which al-Maliki is embroiled in, as well as the senior leaders of his bloc, his party and his affiliates”. He went on to say “this is not certain however, by which I mean it is not certain that the next president will not open those files. This is especially as Muqtada al-Sadr has attacked al-Maliki and government ministers for their failure to perform their responsibilities”.

The source warned that “coordination is underway at the highest levels between the Sadr Movement, the Iraqiya coalition, the Kurdistan Alliance and within the NIA itself, towards approving the idea of the Sadr Movement forming the next government, in accordance with the principles of genuine national partnership”. He pointed out that “Nechirvan Barzani, Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Vice President of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, met with al-Sadr in Qom over two weeks ago, and the meeting was geared in this direction. Likewise, the message of thanks sent by Massoud Barzani via Fuad Hussein, Chief of Staff to the President of the KRG, to al-Sadr last week regarding his stance on the attempted assassinations of Kurds in Arab Iraqi cities, along with the meetings between the Iraqiya bloc and the Sadr Movement, and the coordination of their positions, with Allawi paying tribute to al-Sadr on more than one occasion, describing him as a nationalist Iraqi leader, and his movement as a nationalist one, all give a clear indication of approval for the Sadr Movement to form the next government”.

The source said that “The Sadr Movement has 40 seats in parliament, and those MPs supported al-Maliki’s formation of the government. The Movement also has important ministers within the al-Maliki government itself, and the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament. However, this does not mean that it will remain silent about the deplorable political situation, or the issues of corruption or mismanagement, the victims of which are the Iraqi people”. He warned that “al-Sadr has attacked the Prime Minister before and criticized his monopoly over governance and his inclination towards dictatorship. Most recently, he alleged that the arrest of Faraj al-Haidari, chief of the Independent High Electoral Commission, was carried out in the interests of al-Maliki”.