Baghdad, Asharq Al-Awsat – Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law coalition [SLC] has announced its rejection of any power sharing agreement with Iyad Allawi’s Iraqiya bloc that would see Allawi given 50 percent of responsibility with regards to decision-making.
The idea of power sharing between al-Maliki and Allawi was first put forward by US Vice President Joe Biden as a way to put an end to the stalemate with regards to the formation of Iraq’s next government. Biden had proposed al-Maliki remaining as prime minister for a second term, with Allawi being granted a senior position – such as president of Iraq – and broad powers.
Kamal al-Saadi, a member of al-Maliki’s SLC, told Asharq Al-Awsat that “the Iraqiya bloc’s request for power sharing with the SLC is unacceptable on the grounds that it represents the beginning of sectarian and social division.”
The SLC’s rejection of this comes as its negotiating position has been strengthened after the Sadrist trend through its weight behind al-Maliki, who is today very close to obtaining the majority he needs to form a government.
This power sharing deal was supposed to be discussed following Allawi’s return to Iraq from Cairo last week however al-Saadi informed Asharq Al-Awsat that whilst “there are individual contacts between the SLC and the Iraqiya bloc; this does not translate into contacts at the level of the negotiating committees.”
He clarified that “these committees have yet to meet, and they represent all parties of the National Alliance, initiating dialogue with other political parties in order to form the next government.” Al-Saadi also informed Asharq Al-Awsat that “our dialogue with the Kurdistan Alliance is positive and we expect to reach fruitful results in the coming stage.”
For her part, Iraqiya bloc spokesperson Maysoon al-Damluji told Asharq Al-Awsat that “al-Maliki is trying to remain in power, despite the fact that his coalition has not obtained the seats to qualify him to fill this position.” She added that as the bloc that won the most number of seats at the elections – 91 seats in comparison to the SLC’s 89 seats – the Iraqiya bloc believes it has the constitutional right to form the next government.
As for the issue of power sharing with the SLC, something that the Iraqiya bloc for its part also rejected, al-Damluji told Asharq Al-Awsat that “the issue is not one of posts so much as it is one of political powers and developing a roadmap for the political process” stressing once more “the Iraqiya bloc’s rejection of any government headed by al-Maliki.”
However al-Damluji added that “this issue does not mean that we are against the SLC.” She also revealed that “there has been progress in our negotiations with the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq [ISCI] and the Islamic Virtue party, which is something that we count on.”
As for Allawi visiting the Islamic Virtue party headquarters on Thursday, al-Damluji said that “the visit took place to bring together viewpoints in order to form another axis way from the SLC – Sadrist trend axis.” This visit took place two days after a similar visit by Nouri al-Maliki to the Islamic Virtue party headquarters where he tried to convince the party to support his nomination. However the Islamic Virtue party has confirmed that it standing with the ISCI and [its leader] Ammar al-Hakim in its rejection of al-Maliki’s nomination.”