Iraq's Sunnis Join Gov't Talks, With Conditions

The main Sunni political coalition, which vied in the recent legislative elections, has given a conditioned agreement to join talks with the Shiite and Kurdish blocs to form the new government.

Iraq's Sunnis Join Gov't Talks, With Conditions

"We are seeking a national unity government that serves the interests of the Iraqi people," Khalaf Al-Ayan, a senior member of the Sunni National Concord Front (NCF), told IslamOnline.net Monday, February 6.

"We want a government not formed on sectarian basis where portfolios are given to Iraqi figures who don't serve the interests of certain political groups at the expense of Iraq."

A poll on the front's Web sit showed that 85.5 percent of Iraqi Sunnis support participation in the new government.

Field surveys by the coalition also found that more than 90 percent of its supporters want Sunnis to be represented in the new cabinet.

The Shiite United Iraqi Alliance (UAI) has won 128 of the parliament's 275 seats while their Kurdish allies got 53 seats.

The NCF and the Sunni National Dialogue Front both secured 55 seats.

Conditions

Al-Ayan said the distribution of portfolios should not be based on the election results.

"The front is quite confident that the election results were rigged for certain parties," he charged.

The International Mission for Iraqi Elections (IMIE) cited on Thursday, January 19, violations and cases of fraud in the elections, but made no call for repeating any voting from the December 15 polls.

The team arrived in Iraq late December to review the results after demands by scores of Iraqi groups, including leading Sunnis coalitions and former prime minister Iyad Allawi' party, for fresh poll.

"Thus, the Sunni participation in the new government should be decided according to their representation in Iraq, not to the election results," Al-Ayan said.

National Program

Thafer Al-Ani, the coalition's spokesman, agreed.

"The NCF agreement to join government formation talks does not necessarily mean we will be part of the new cabinet," he told Reuters.

He argued that the front does not want to have a formal representation in the new government.

"What matters most is the program adopted by the new government.

"We press for an end to foreign occupation, preservation of Iraq's unity and reviewing the constitution," said Al-Ani.

He asserted that the front is also pressing for a national program to be adopted by the new government.

"Sunnis will shy away from taking part in the new government if there was no national program to end the bloodshed in Iraq."

Sunni Arabs had largely boycotted elections for a transitional parliament in January, 2005, but a large turnout on December 15, signaled their willingness to maximize their representation in the new government.

The 275-member parliament's first task is to appoint a president and two vice presidents who will then have 15 days to name a prime minister.

The premier will have 30 days to form a full-term, four-year cabinet with parliamentary approval.
Source: Islamonline

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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