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We Cannot Grant Allawi the Post of Prime Minster- Iraq’s State of Law Coalition | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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London, Asharq Al-Awsat – Senior member of Nuri al-Maliki’s State of Law coalition, Izzat al-Shabandar informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the State of Law coalition “is not in a position to direct the post of prime minister to the Iraqiya bloc, for there is a view that this position should be for a Shiite.” He added that Iyad Allawi’s Iraqiya bloc should “be aware of this.”

Al-Shabandar, who was speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat via telephone from Baghdad yesterday, clarified that although “Allawi is a Shiite, he is a candidate within a Sunni framework, and there are 5 Sunni leaders affiliated to his [electoral] bloc, and they are Tariq al-Hashimi, Rafi al-Issawi, Osama Nujaifi, Saleh al-Mutlaq, and Omar Abdul Sattar al-Karbouli.” Al-Shabandar added that “we [the State of Law coalition] do not support these candidacies, but that is the reality, and we must deal with this in order to put an end to it; we rooted out sectarian division when we returned to Iraq in 2003, however today we are being afflicted by this.”

Al-Shabandar, who became an MP as part of Allawi’s Iraqi List during the 2004 elections, before withdrawing from this electoral bloc and joining al-Maliki’s State of Law coalition prior to the 2010 elections, where he suffered an electoral defeat, losing his parliamentary seat, also told Asharq Al-Awsat that he believes that “al-Maliki is better suited to lead the government, especially if the Iraqiya bloc and the State of Law coalition ally, there will be no objection from Iran, and the US will not forbid this solution.”

As for the likelihood of the Iraqiya bloc and Ammar al-Hakim’s National Iraqi Alliance forming a coalition and – alongside the Kurdish Alliance – forming a government led by Iyad Allawi, al-Shabandar asked “how can they ally with the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq when al-Hakim is pushing for the [Shiite] federalist project in the south which was something being carefully considered by [Iraqi Vice President] Adel Abdul Mahdi, not to mention [allying with] the Sadrist trend whose militias are responsible for killing and displacement?” Al-Shabandar stated that “an alliance between the Iraqiya bloc and the State of Law coalition is the closest to reality.”

In response to al-Shabandar’s comments, a senior member of the National Iraqi Alliance [NIA] who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity stated that “the NIA is united upon not agreeing to nominate al-Maliki [for prime minister] whether Iran intervenes or not.” He also acknowledged that “Iran exerted pressure on leaders within the NIA, as well as the Sadrist trend, to agree to al-Maliki remaining prime minister, and this demanded was rejected.”

The unnamed senior figure in the National Iraqi Alliance also stated that “we rule out continuing our alliance with the State of Law coalition, and that means that the Iraqiya bloc have the constitutional right to form the next government, and if this takes place we will support it.”

Refuting al-Shabandar’s comments that an alliance between the Iraqiya bloc and the State of Law coalition is the closest to being achieved, senior member of the Iraqiya bloc, Mohamed Allawi informed Asharq Al-Awsat that “the National Iraqi Alliance is closest to them [the Iraqiya bloc], and there are a number of national participation issues that brings together their [political] programs.” Mohamed Allawi also pointed to “the national history enjoyed by the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq which made a lot of sacrifices during the years of resistance” as well as stressing “the broad popularity enjoyed by the Sadrist trend and its influence on the Iraqi street”

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat from Baghdad, Mohamed Allawi told Asharq Al-Awsat that “despite the fact that our dialogue with the State of Law coalition remains ongoing, and we are looking at national unity issues and the operational agenda for the next government, we are also conducting dialogue with the National Iraqi Alliance and the Kurdistan Alliance to develop a roadmap to form the next government.” Mohamed Allawi also pointed to “our disagreement over al-Maliki being nominated for prime minister of the next government is due to our commitment to a peaceful transfer of power as stated in the Iraqi constitution, and the issue as far as we are concerned is nothing to do with sectarianism.”

For her part, official Iraqiya bloc spokesperson Maysoon al-Damluji told Asharq Al-Awsat that the other electoral blocs “have begun to talk about sectarian entitlements that have nothing to do with the constitution or the law. They went to convince the Iraqiya bloc – which has the constitutional obligation to form the next government – to take the position of the Sunni Iraqi Accord Front, in terms of rights, as they view the Iraqiya bloc to be a Sunni bloc.”

However al-Damluji stressed that “we in Iraqiya bloc do not proceed from a sectarian position, but from a purely national Iraqi position, and the evidence of this is that there are Sunnis, Shiites, Christians, Turkmens, and Kurds in our bloc, and that the Iraqiya bloc won parliamentary seats in both Sunni and Shiite provinces.” She added that “the Iraqiya bloc rejects any sectarian proposals, or participating in any government based upon sectarian principles; we fought against sectarian quotas under the previous government, and the Iraqiya bloc withdrew from the previous government because it adopted the sectarian quota system.”