Election winner Allawi starts Iraq coalition talks

Iraq poll winner Allawi said he was open to alliances with any faction and wanted quickly to form a government.

Election winner Allawi starts Iraq coalition talks

Iraq election winner Iyad Allawi said on Saturday he was open to alliances with any faction and wanted quickly to form a government.

Allawi's secular Iraqiya bloc won by a two-seat margin in preliminary results released on Friday over the State of Law coalition led by Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who said he would challenge the results.

"The Iraqiya list's decision is to be open to all powers starting from the State of Law headed by the prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki," Allawi said at a news conference.

"Iraq does not belong to anyone or any party but it belongs to all Iraqis."

Allawi, a secular Shi'ite who served as prime minister in 2004-05 after the U.S. invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein, and his Iraqiya partners took 91 seats in parliament to 89 for Maliki's State of Law coalition in a vote that exposed the depth of Iraq's sectarian divide.

"There must be a strong government, capable of taking decisions which serve the Iraqi people, and bring peace and stability to Iraq," Allawi told a press conference.

Of coalition talks, he said: "There have been some talks, but they were only talks. Now, the negotiations begin."

Maliki's objection

Maliki has refused to accept the results from the March 7 poll, insisting figures released Friday night by the election commission remained "preliminary."

"We hope ... to form the government as quickly as possible. A government that is capable of providing security and to offer the appropriate services to its people," Allawi said.

Allawi said the road to a new government led through Iraqiya, an apparent reference to Maliki's declaration on Friday night that he was on his way to forming the biggest bloc in parliament.

"The Iraqi people chose the Iraqiya to be the base to start talks with the other parties according to the constitution," Allawi said.

Officials with Maliki's coalition and from the third-place finisher, the Iraqi National Alliance, a bloc with close relationships with Shi'ite neighbour Iran, have said they are working toward a merger. The two combined would hold 159 seats, close to the majority needed to form a government.

INA and Sadr bloc

INA includes the Sadrist political movement of anti-American Shi'ite Moqtada al-Sadr, who is studying in Iran.

His party performed beyond expectations in the election, outpolling its INA partner, the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, which was formed in exile in Iran.

In a sign of Sadr's influence in Iraqi politics, representatives of State of Law and the Sadrists travelled to Iran on Friday to meet with Sadr, according to INA sources.

Allawi bloc has confirmed previous talks with the Iraqi National Alliance, a coalition led by Shiite religious groups, and Kurdistania, comprised of the autonomous Kurdish region's two long-dominant blocs, which came third and fourth in the election respectively.

Iraq's supreme court, however, on Thursday specified that a clause in the constitution referring to the "largest Council of Representatives bloc" could include groups that came together after the March 7 polls to form new coalitions.

Allawi said on Saturday that the new government should work on strengthening political and economic ties with its neigbours and end long-running disputes over borders with countries such as Iran and Kuwait.

"We should not forget that the stability of Iraq is from the stability of the region... The coming government should work to deepen this concept," he said.

Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 27 Mart 2010, 15:07
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