Even some of Iraq’s Shiite leaders say they have had enough of Maliki and oppose a third term for him. Photo: AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Iraqi National Alliance (INA), composed of the country’s leading Shiite parties, said it was surprised that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s partner coalition had unilaterally nominated him for a third term.
It demanded his candidacy be removed until internal procedures are finalized.
The INA reaction came after Maliki’s State of Law coalition unilaterally nominated him as its candidate for a third-term as prime minister.
After the April 30 Iraqi elections, which were swept by Maliki and his coalition, the premier should be smiling broadly. But the victory has not enlivened his dour demeanor.
That may be because the Shiite prime minister has managed to make an enemy of Iraq’s Kurds, Sunnis and even fellow Shiite blocs.
The autonomous Kurds have balked at a third term for Maliki, the large Sunni minority feels likewise and even some Shiite parties say they have had enough of him.
"The alliance (INA) is surprised that the brothers in the State of Law coalition have put forward their candidate, independent from the lists of the National Alliance, and prior to the completion of internal mechanisms and programs,” said a statement by the major components of the alliance after a meeting in Baghdad.
It said INA rejects any candidate for the presidency of the Council of Ministers without consultation with all parties within the alliance.
"INA asks brothers from State of Law to withdraw their candidate for the post of prime minister,” the statement said. “The coalition confirms the need for the emergence of a candidate from INA after the finalization of the mechanisms and standards and specifications” for naming candidates, it added.
"The nomination of any candidate has to be based on the standards and the internal program of the National Alliance," the statement noted.
Maliki’s State of Law unilaterally named the current incumbent as its sole candidate for the premiership. The coalition won 92 of Iraqi parliament's 326 seats in the April elections, and by law would need 165 seats to form a government.
Despite the fragmentation of the political parties along sectarian and ethnic lines, it appears that the Shiites, Kurds and Sunnis are ready to form major parliamentary blocs and coalitions, in order to strengthen their positions in negotiations for the next government. The process is expected to take months.
In the meantime, Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani issued a decree to form a six-member negotiating team, from the Kurdish political parties that won 62 seats in the elections, to start negotiations with other Iraqi forces.
The Sunnis are seeking to form a major alliance under the leadership of Mutahidun leader Osama al-Nujaifi, whose list won 28 seats.
Based on the Iraqi Supreme Court ruling of 2010, the largest parliamentary bloc has the right to name the prime minister and form the next government.
Maliki has announced his intention to form a majority government, but the National Alliance also rejected that idea, viewing it as inconsistent with the current situation in Iraq.