Politics & Economics

Iraq: Last-Minute Talks before Determining Fate of Government


Political blocs are rushing to hold last minute talks ahead of the formation of Iraq's new government, which is expected to be an interim government.

The sudden cold weather and snow in Baghdad haven’t affected the ongoing heated talks between all Iraqi parties leading to the cabinet formation, during a very complicated situation that happens with every government formation.

However, the situation is different now, and for the first time since 2003, a public movement succeeded in toppling a government.

Although the political class speculated that the below-zero temperatures will weaken the popular movement, hundreds of protesters marched in the streets of Baghdad and other southern cities as of the early morning chanting against corruption and the government.

Political blocs are now forced to come to a difficult yet strong consensus to form a cabinet similar to a salvation government to hold early elections.

The prime minister-designate, Mohammad Tawfiq Allawi, was not the most preferred candidate among the political class that was forced to accept him, nor was he accepted by the movement which principally rejects any figure who was or still is part of this class.

However, Allawi does not seem to be planning to repeat the scenario of former PM Adel Abdul-Mahdi who was enforced on all blocs by “Saeroon” and “Fatah” blocs.

Saeron bloc is supported by the leader of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, and Fatah Alliance is led by Hadi al-Amiri.

Prominent Iraqi politician Izzat Shabandar believes Allawi still faces several expected difficulties in his mission, however, the circumstances are different now.

Asked by Asharq Al-Awsat about the difficulties facing Allawi, Shabandar said that the Prime Minister-designate is still under pressure from leader of the Sadrist movement, head of Fatah, and President Barham Salih, without specifying the nature of these pressures.

Shabandar warned that if Allawi submits to the will of any bloc or party, he will not succeed.

Shabandar, who negotiated with the Kurds at Allawi’s request, denied that “they [Kurds] have any conditions, because they have not yet discussed the details of forming a government.”

Exchanged accusations and attempts to hinder Allawi’s mission began to publicly appear, however, MP of Erada Movement Hussein Arab believes the government’s formation depends on the tripartite meetings Allawi is supposed to hold with leaders representing the Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds.

Arab told Asharq Al-Awsat that these meetings are crucial regarding the way in which the government will be formed so that it can receive the vote of confidence in the parliament. He believes that all parties are keen to form a cabinet because the situation in the country can no longer take any more escalation or differences.

Meanwhile, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, MP Mohammad Karbouli denounced some parties’ attempts to ‘re-brand’ themselves via Sunni component representation after they had lost their public support.

Karbouli explained that it is not a shame for a representative of any component in the society to demand the rights of its people within the proper frameworks, especially that Iraq is a pluralistic country.

Image: Reuters

Article: Asharq al-Awsat