Main Iraq factions agree on posts for new govt

Iraq’s main political blocs agreed nominees for the country’s top three parliamentary posts, ending an eight-month deadlock over a new government, Kurdish regional president said.

By (Reuters)

Published: Thu 11 Nov 2010, 2:45 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:10 AM

Kurdish regional president Masoud Barzani said incumbent Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s Shia-led alliance would get the prime minister post, while the Kurdish faction would keep the presidency.

Former premier Iyad Allawi’s Iraqiya faction would get the speaker’s post in the national assembly — parliament — while Allawi himself would head a new council of strategic policy, he said.

Maliki inched closer to a final deal to secure a second term on a day when bomb and mortar attacks targeting Christians across the Iraqi capital killed at least three people and wounded dozens of others.

After a meeting of Iraqi political leaders, a senior lawmaker from the cross-sectarian Iraqiya coalition headed by former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi told Reuters the bloc would join a Maliki government.

The decision offered hope the next government to ease the chances of a return to the sectarian violence that killed tens of thousands of people after the 2003 US-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein.

The Obama administration called the development “a big step forward for Iraq.

“All along we’ve said the best result would be a government that reflects the results of the elections, includes all the major blocs representing Iraq’s ethnic and sectarian groups, and that does not exclude or marginalise anyone. That’s exactly what Iraqis seem to have agreed to,” Antony Blinken, national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, said in a statement.

“Just as important, Iraq’s leaders negotiated and apparently agreed to a major redistribution of powers that creates real checks and balances against the abuse of power by any one group,” the US statement said.

Iraqiya would take the speaker’s post, the Foreign Ministry and a role with possibly expanded authority over defence issues, the economy and foreign affairs.

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Politicians from the National Alliance said they would go ahead with government formation as long as they had a political majority and even if other blocs chose to boycott the parliamentary session.

“We do not imagine a government that does not represent all Iraq’s factions. ... But the government does not and will not stop, God forbid, if a list stays behind,” Ibrahim al-Jaafari, a senior member of the National Alliance, told a news conference.

Haidar al-Ibadi, an influential lawmaker from Maliki’s Dawa party, said his bloc had agreed with others, including the Kurdish Alliance, which has 57 seats, to attend Thursday’s parliamentary session even if others chose to stay away.

Iraqi political leaders began a series of talks on Monday to try to agree on a government of national unity. They were expected to reach a final deal on the top posts before the parliamentary session on Thursday.

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