PM candidates struggle main obstacle to forming new Iraqi gov't: expert

08:30, June 08, 2010      

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Three months have passed since the parliamentary election was held, but Iraq still lacks a new government.

Although the supreme court ratified on June 1 the final results of the election, local analyst said the major obstacle to forming a new government was that who will be the next Iraqi prime minister, while the delay of the process already had negative impacts over the country's politics, economy and foreign affairs.

AMBIGUITY OF CONSTITUTION'S ARTICLE 76

According to the ratified results, the Iraqia List led by former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi was confirmed as the final winner of the election with the most 91 seats in a total of 325.

On Saturday, President Jalal Talabani called on all winning political blocs to discuss together to set a date for the first session of the new parliament.

According to Iraq's constitution, the president must convene the new parliament within 15 days from the date of the ratification of the election results.

In an interview with Xinhua, Ibrahim al-Ameri, a professor in Baghdad University, said the blocs are not willing to positively respond to the appeal.

"The formation of a new government is still facing the obstacle of who will be the next prime minister," said Ameri.

"The article 76 of the constitution was ambiguous when it talked about the largest bloc. The Iraqi federal court gave an interpretation that it is the largest coalition in the next parliament before its first session," he said.

Current Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's State of Law, which won 89 seats, has declared an coalition with Shiite bloc Iraqi National Alliance (INA), which came third in the elections with 70 seats. The coalition thus reached 159 seats.

"But such an interpretation is seen as politically motivated by Allawi, who believes the largest bloc is the one which wins the largest number of seats," the professor told Xinhua.

DEADLOCK HARD TO BREAK

Now candidates for the next prime minister are Allawi and Maliki.

"I believe there is not enough time left for Maliki (less than one week before the first session), who is doing his best to be the nominee for the prime minister. He is facing rejections from the powerful Sadr group which has 40 seats out of the 70 in the INA," said Ameri.

"It seems that Allawi hurdles in his tough talks with the Shiite INA, which he believes the closest to his Iraqia List. But I think the INA still hopes Maliki's Dawa Islamic Party to be their ally in the new parliament as they don't want the Shiite community lose power to the secular bloc which is backed by the Sunnis," said the professor.

"As for the way to break the current deadlock, I think the politicians should retreat from their haggling. Maybe the best solution is to find a compromise nominee for the prime minister post, a name that can be accepted by all the political blocs," he said.

Ameri said the politicians might try to find other ways to strive for more time for negotiations.

"The latest approval for the election results is a major step forward towards forming a new government," said Ameri.

"I believe Talabani will convene the new parliament and senior members of the Council of Representatives will chair the first session. But the politicians will try to change the time table of the constitution to strive for more time to bargain," he added.

NEGATIVE IMPACTS OF DELAY

Local media and analysts have worried that the delay of forming a new government would have negative impacts on Iraq's politics, economy, security and foreign affairs.

Sporadic attacks are still common in Iraqi cities. On Monday, a series of attacks in Baghdad and Iraq's western Anbar province killed up to 14 people and wounded 57 others,

However, Ameri does not think there will be serious sectarian violence again.

"Iraq saw sectarian violence in 2006 when politicians formed the outgoing government, but I don't think the country would see such kind of turmoil this time. People here are getting tired of blind killings and Iraqi communities are no longer willing to harbor militias," he said.

"After the Oil Ministry signed 10 deals with international oil companies, Iraqi people hope a new government could be formed to make use of the booming oil profits," added Ameri.

"However, attacks by militias against foreigners who invest in Iraq or any sign of changes in the U.S. troops withdrawal plans could stir violence," added Ameri.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:张茜)

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