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By Ali Latif & Ali Razzaq
March 29, 2005

Negotiations for new Iraqi government delayed by divisions within the Kurdish list

Following the success of the first democratic elections in Iraq for over 50 years, a government is yet to be formed as the winning United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) continues negotiations with the Kurdish list.

For six weeks following the election results the Kurdish list has used the issues of Kirkuk, right of return for refugees and the Peshmerga militia as a smoke-screen to cover-up a power struggle that has emerged between Barazani and Talabani. These issues have already been
addressed in detail in the Transitional Administrative Law, and therefore these 10-month-old issues have been raised again as delay tactics to buy the two Kurdish parties time to settle their differences. With Talabani set to take the presidency, Barazani has
been left feeling sidelined. In an attempt to resolve the power struggle amongst them, the Kurdish list is now demanding a share in government that is much greater than their proportion of votes in the January elections – to appease Barazani’s KDP with several important positions in government. In addition to the presidency, the Kurdish list is now demanding: 1) the Deputy Prime Minister post, 2) for the Deputy Prime Minister to have equal powers as the Prime Minister, 3) two out of the five major ministries (Interior, Foreign, Oil, Defence and Finance) – which would mean that one ministry would go to a Sunni leaving the UIA, which attained more than twice the votes of the Kurdish list, with two major ministries as well.

A non-democratic presence in an elected assembly

A point of concern regarding the inaugural meeting of the national assembly was the presence of political figures who failed to get elected in the recent elections. The presence of individuals such as Adnan Pachachi, Naseer Chaderchi and Ali ibn Al-Hussain sends a non-democratic signal to the 8.5 million who risked their lives to vote, somewhat undermining the legitimacy of the elections and undoubtedly fuelling conspiracy theories. Whilst it is unclear as to why they were allowed to attend the meeting, this should certainly not become a permanent feature and someone’s presence in either the parliament or cabinet should be solely based on having been elected – expecting anything less would undermine the very principles of democracy.

Drafting the constitution

The delay in the political process is eating away into the already tight constitutional drafting timetable and a rushed drafting process, for a document of such significance, is clearly of no benefit to anyone. An equally important aspect of the constitutional-drafting process is its transparency and ability to take popular opinion into account. With a public referendum deciding the constitution's ultimate fate, a mechanism for public consultation needs to be formally agreed upon without delay. Rather than a draft being produced behind closed doors and modelled on the TAL, the elected assembly owes it to the Iraqi people to produce a constitution that is best able to safeguard the country's democratic future.

 

© 2007 Iraqi Prospect Organisation
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