Reda Jawad Taqi, the official in charge of political relations in the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution (SCIRI), an influential Shia party that is led by Abdel Aziz Hakim and part of the United Iraqi Alliance, has underlined the nomination of vice-president Adel Abdel Mahdi to head the next government. Meanwhile, Dr. Adnan al-Dulaimi, head of the Iraqi Accord Front (Sunni), asserted that no serious or detailed meeting has been held so far with the other entities about forming the next government.
Taqi pointed out that official talks concerning the structure of the government would start early next week when Massoud Barzani, the Kurdistan Democratic Party leader and president of the Kurdistan region, arrives in Baghdad to take part.
Speaking on the phone to Asharq Al-Awsat from his office in Baghdad yesterday, Taqi said: “Abdel Mahdi is SCIRI’s candidate and his rivals are the current Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari and Dr. Nadim Jabiri, secretary general of Al-Fadilah Party. Serious talks will take place over the next two days so that the United Iraqi Alliance will decide on this matter and nominate the person who will form the cabinet. The Alliance won a majority of the votes in the recent elections that qualify it to nominate one of its members to be the next prime minister.” He added, “Within the Alliance, we are seeking to nominate the prime minister by consensus and are not expecting any disagreements over this issue.”
Asked whether Al-Jaafari would insist on being nominated and on remaining prime minister, Taqi said: “We will vote inside the Alliance and it will decide whoever wins in this vote. The name of Hussein al-Shahristani, alliance member and deputy speaker of the outgoing National Assembly, will be added to the list of candidates.” Taqi stressed that the “competition within the Alliance in the end will be between Al-Jaafari and Abdel Mahdi.” He did not rule out, however, the withdrawal of Al-Fadilah Party from the Alliance if its secretary General Jabiri is not nominated, adding, “This is a possibility.”
As for the sovereign ministries, the portfolios of which SCIRI is demanding, Taqi said that no meeting has been held between SCIRI, the United Iraqi Alliance, or Dr. Iyad Allawi adding, “we will certainly meet with them and others and discuss.” He added that one of the candidates for the prime minister’s post would become the vice president if he failed to win.
On his part, Al-Dulaimi stressed that no detailed or preliminary talks about forming the government have been held yet, with the Alliance list or the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. He highlighted the agreement with Iyad Allawi’s Iraqi National List to work together adding, “We will include other political entities, even from the Christian and Yazidi figures who each won one seat in the next parliament. We will include any entity that wishes to work with us.” He continued, “We have not yet demanded any ministry or position and have not agreed, either among us or between us and the other political entities. But the Sunnis prefer us to have the Defense Ministry and we will work to create assurances among the Iraqis who are apprehensive.” Dulaimi added, “Iraq went through a state of insecurity and apprehension under Al-Jaafari’s government the condition of which Iraq has never been experienced from its establishment in 1921 to this day.”