Atheel al-Nujaifi, a former governor of Nineveh, speaks during an interview at a private villa in Dubai in 2015. File photo: AP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Iraqi Sunni leaders established the ‘National Axis Alliance’ in a bid to unite the Sunni political house and have a stronger position in government formation.
“We today stand to announce for you a national political alliance seeking to serve the nation and build a state," read the declaration of the formation of the alliance on Tuesday.
The alliance seeks to depend on a new administrative and political program for running the state.
"In a new era, and a new phase through which our honorable nation passes, and in days the Iraqis all look to the future, while they are suffering a great malfunction in all that they need, in services and achievements, and on the basis of unifying the national ranks…” added the statement.
Members include: businessman Khamis al-Khanjar, Iraqi VP Osama al-Nujaifi, humanitarian Jamal al-Karboli, former parliament speaker Saleem al-Jabouri, former governor of Saladin Ahmed Abdullah al-Jubouri, among others.
"Yes to the unity of Iraq and its sovereignty. Yes to the total war on terror and in all of its causes. Yes to war on corruption and the corrupt. No to sectarianism in all of its colors. No to sedition between the offspring of the same house and united country", read the slogans of the alliance.
This new alliance comes after a manual recount, which led to a few seat changes, but no major parties gaining or losing. The parties have a period to dispute the recount, and then the federal court must give the final approval.
"For the sake of Iraq, and the unity of its people and land, for the sake of our great people, its service, prosperity and happiness, we today announce the formation of the 'National Axis Alliance',” Khanjar, the head of the alliance, tweeted on Tuesday.
He called on the people to monitor and evaluate the alliance’s work continuously, and to correct their work if they deviate from their path.
“Our agreement in the National Axis Alliance is based on not giving the corrupt and the fraudsters the chance to dominate the legislative authority and to prevent them from pressuring the judiciary, and not to repeat the experience of the latest elections, which made people lose confidence in any future election,” Atheel al-Nujaifi, leader in the alliance and the former governor of Mosul, wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday.
Nujaifi posited that their alliance would rather become the opposition than to partake in government formation by “the corrupt.”
“Our participation in the formation of the next government is hinged on the hope of reform, not merely participation," Nujaifi added.
"A new axis will shift to giving loyalty to the government and sort of has the pragmatic Libro-Islamic approach... It is clear that the Sunni political house is making a comeback with this axis, as confirmed by the name of its leaders. This time siding with those who can establish stability in cities liberated from Daesh," Hisham al-Hashimi, security advisor to Salim al-Jabouri, tweeted on Tuesday.
The Sunnis will ponder over a candidate to send to the parliament for the position of speaker, like in the past. A prominent Sunni politician, Saleh al-Mutlaq, told Rudaw they haven’t agreed on a candidate yet.
Sources have told Baghdad Today that Anbar Governor Mohamed Rikan al-Halbousi has been floated as a candidate for the parliament speaker position.
When Iraq held the election on May 12, more than 2 million people were displaced — many were from predominately Sunni provinces like Anbar.
Salim al-Jabouri allied with former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, a secular Shiite, on the Wataniya Coalition. It won 21 seats — sixth most.
Shiites won the top four lists, with the Kurdistan Democratic Party coming in fifth.