Saturday, November 27, 2010

Iraqi leaders break impasse over government formation

Iraqi leaders break impasse over government formation

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Erbil, Nov. 8 (AKnews) – The political leaders of Iraq successfully finished a meeting in Erbil Monday to discuss their differences over the next Iraqi government breaking at least the "psychological barrier" to come to terms.
Meeting- kobunawa
All the Iraqi political leaders attended the meeting in Erbil to hold face-to-face talks in what became the first all-inclusive meeting to bring together the Iraqi actors under one roof – the initiative of the President of Kurdistan Region Massoud Barzani.

Barzani's initiative, submitted to the political blocs in September, suggested as an initial step the establishment of the committee of 8-12 representatives from the different political factions in order to resolve issues of contention between them and arrive at a consensus over the allocation of the key governmental posts. The Erbil meeting is the second stage of the initiative.

In the opening speech, Barzani said the initiative was a result of his belief that "Iraq could accommodate us all, without exception, and this is what it should be"

Leader s of all bloc looked with optimism at the meeting with a view to end the 8-month long political impasse after the March 7 elections failed to conclude the issue of government formation.

Prime Minister Nuri al-maliki said the leaders met in Erbil to achieve three principles: national unity, continuing the national reconciliation process and a real national partnership in forming the new government.

The Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said the Iraqi people had the right to see all the political actors accelerate the formation of the Iraqi government. "They need guarantees about their country"

But Iraq's Vice-President Tareq al-Hashemi sounded doubtful and pessimistic of the Iraqi leader ability to resolve the disputes over the new Iraqi government in the the Erbil meeting

"How can the leader settle the strategic disputes in such a short time" wondered Mr Hashemi, a Sunni leader within the al-Iraqiya list led by former Iraqi interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, in his speech in the meeting, though he urged a "quick and urgent formation of a national partnership government"

Still Massoud Barzani found it a successful and positive meeting.

"What I saw today was more than positive", Barzani told a press conference after the meeting, "If the meetings continue with this positive atmosphere, I am sure the government will be formed soon"

"This is the first meeting since the elections in which all the political blocs took part… in itself an important step" said Barzani. There have been meetings before between the Iraqi actors which included only two or three blocs.

"This time, the political actors, instead of talking on the TV channels and newspapers, sat face to face and talked… previously, they wouldn't meet" said Barzani.

A second meeting will be held Tuesday in Baghdad to give more time to the leaders to expand on the issues and agree on the top government positions before the next parliament convention on Thursday. The major disagreements are over the distribution of the top three state positions of prime minister, president and parliament speaker.

Asked if there were external pressures on Kurds to give up their demand for Iraqi presidency, currently held by a Kurd Jalal Talabani, Barzani said "there is this speculation, but it is not like that. The president's position is a national right for the Kurds… it is related to the parliament of the Kurdistan region, the Kurdish political blocs, and the Kurdish public, it is not the decision of one person"

Iraq had been deadlocked in disputes between the main parliamentary blocs for eight months over who will name the next PM. Current Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki wants to keep his job for a second term while Iraqiya list insists that they are entitled by the constitution to form the government.

The Iraqiya won 91 seats in the parliament while Maliki's State of Law Coalition (SLC) 89. in a move to get ahead of Allawi, Maliki entered an alliance with the Iraqi National Alliance list, 70 seats, to form the merger the National Coalition (NC).

The NC later broke into two parts; those who supported Maliki as candidate for the post of the Pm, and those who were against him. The supporters were mainly members of Maliki's SLC and the Sadr Current who held some 40 seats within the INA.

Kurds could play kingmaker if they align with Maliki giving him a majority of over 180 seats out f the 325-seat parliament.

Regarding their support for a certain bloc, Barzani said the "Kurds will announce their stand in the next parliament session,"

Raber Y. Aziz (raber@aknews.com)