Iraq election recount battle over, now comes the hard part
At an unusual Baghdad gathering of key players, tensions eased over the Iraq election results. But the effort to form a coalition government and choose Iraqi's new prime minister and president still in the early stages.
(Page 2 of 2)
Guess who's coming to lunch?
As waiters passed canapés around at a reception following the ceremony, much of the talk was over who would show up for a presidential lunch on Thursday aimed at bringing political leaders together.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
More than two months after the vote, Maliki and former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi - leaders of two political blocs considered essential to a coalition government - have still not met.
Mr. Allawi, apparently passing up President Jalal Talabani’s lunch invitation, left the country on Wednesday on one of his frequent foreign trips.
Maliki’s State of Law coalition has aligned with another Shiite bloc but most of the talks between those two political groups have been over who would lead the alliance and get to be prime minister rather than how to reach out to other parties to build a functioning coalition government.
“Nobody can claim up front the prime minister’s position – this must be a matter of negotiation,” says Mr. Melkert, the UN envoy. “I think that’s the first step that needs to be taken and it should be well understood by everyone.”
“Those bilateral talks are meant to evolve into this kind of round table setting where all of the major blocs will be represented as part of a major government,” he says, adding that although it would likely take time, he was “not pessimistic” about the prospect of agreement.
Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, part of the leadership of the Kurdish Democratic Party, says he expects it could take months to bring together the two main Shiite blocs together with the Kurdish parties and Allawi’s secular, more Sunni coalition.
“This time the situation is more difficult because there is no clear-cut winner who will take the lead,” he says. “After two months, the leaders of the winning blocks have not been able to have one single meeting together so it tells you the personality class, the agenda clash…to reach an acceptable formula there are four winning blocs these need to come together if you want to form a coalition government.”
As Maliki left the reception, one of his top political advisers, Sadiq al-Rakabi, insisted there is an awareness on the part of his State of Law coalition that it has to be an inclusive government.
“We have to reach a compromise solution – it’s the only way,” he said.
- Iraq foreign ministry reopens as symbol of defying terrorists
- New twist in Iraq election crisis: Maliki's enemies latch onto torture allegations
- Iraq news coverage
(This story was edited after posting to correct the date of Iraq's election).