Thursday, December 29, 2005

Accordance, rather than elections will decide the shape of the new government.

Or at least that's how things appear to be heading till now...

As part of an expected series of meetings between the leaders of major political groups, today there’s a meeting between al-Hakeem and President Talabani and a number of senior Shia and Kurdish politicians.
In a speech before the Kurdistan parliament al-Hakeem expressed his sympathy with the Kurdish cause and promised to work hard in that direction because “we are 100 percent with the Kurdish people in finding a solution for Kirkuk’s issue”.

Al-Hakeem also spoke about good chances for the success of new federal states in Iraq, which makes one think that the UIA is seriously considering creating the federation of the south.
The UIA was sending signals suggesting that they will go on and form the government with the Kurds if negotiations with other parties failed, however, the Kurdish reaction to such remarks was rather cold and Kurdish leaders again said that it’s still too early for such plans.

The Kurds believe they can approximate the positions of the rivals in this critical stage, Mahmoud Othman a prominent Kurdish figure spoke in this direction when said “we are part of the solution, not part of the problem…Kurdish leadership wants to be part of a national unity government and the key is in the hands of the UIA who should agree to offer the Sunni parties and Allawi a good share in the formation, especially when it comes to the distribution of sensitive cabinet posts”.
Othman also mentioned that America is serious about seeing Iraqis find a solution “and the US is coordinating with the Kurds to get Iraq out of this crisis in spite of the deep differences between the involved parties”.

Hoshyar Zibari made a similar statement concerning the shape of the new government, he said “the Kurdish alliance and the UIA have the capacity to form a government alone but this will not be in Iraq’s interests at this stage…”.

In his first media appearance since the preliminary results were announced, Ayad Allawi-who’s in Baghdad now-said that’s “it’s still early to talk about the formation of the government as the official results haven’t been announced yet…our list’s and others’ complaints are still being investigated and so we should wait for the results to come”.
Allawi added that his list respects the choice of the people “but there have been many violations and our list lost candidates and campaign workers who were assassinated and some were injured and are still lying in hospitals. We had some of our offices burnt down in the provinces but our policy forbids us from responding to violence with violence, though we were able to do so”.

When asked about the shape of the new government, Allawi answered “there are two options, one is to have a government formed according to the results of the elections but in this case the winners must respect and protect the minorities in a way that allows the minority to practice its role as an opposition. The second option is that we form a government based on accordance and then, the Iraqi list will demand a state of balance in the distribution of posts among the lists.

As to Allawi’s expectations regarding the election results, he said he doesn’t think investigations will make a big difference in the current results.
In the interview for al-Arabiya TV Allawi said he didn’t receive any invitation for any meeting or summit “what is happening now is two parties meeting but as far as I know, there are no plans for a summit to which all involved parties are invited…we are frequently meeting the Kurdish politicians but we will not discuss the formation of the government until final results are announced”.

A surprising move was made by the Sadrists today, Baha al-A’raji who usually speaks for the Sadrist members in the parliament said that two of their trend who were supposed to accompany al-Hakeem on his visit to Sulaymainya but they have later decided to not attend the meeting with Talabani when they realized that Allawi’s list was not invited.

On the other hand, khalaf al-Ilayan, the Accord Front’s envoy to the Arab League said the league will endorse their demands and has agreed to convey their complaints to the EU and UN. In an interview for Radio Sawa, al-Ilayan was asked about the planned reconciliation conference to which he answered saying “if we get our rights in the parliament we will attend that meeting [planned for February] but if not, there shall be no reconciliation”.

Anyway, the next few days will bring to us the final results and then we (and Iraq's politicians) will be able to get a clearer view of what to do and what to expect.

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