Scenarios for the formation of the government in Iraq

2022/04/06 | Note, political, top news

Strategic Council Online—Interview: An expert of Iraq issues says with the passage of six months after the parliamentary elections in Iraq, the formation of the new Iraqi government remains ambiguous.

Siamak Kakaei told the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations that in recent months, despite the formation of Shia, Kurd and Sunni factions in the Iraqi parliament, and consultations among the main political wings, no conclusion has been reached.

According to this expert, in the meantime, the office of the president, for which the Kurds had prepared themselves, remain vacant. Kakaei believes the dispute between the Patriotic Union and the Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party over the presidency has complicated matters.

Referring to the election of the Prime Minister, he said perhaps more important than the presidency is how the Shia currents agree on the choice of a candidate for prime minister, on which there is still no consensus.

“In the latest news, Sadr’s faction has reportedly authorized the Shia coordination front to seek the appointment of a prime minister. The Sadr Group now has the largest parliamentary faction. Muqtada al-Sadr had previously held important talks with the two main Kurdish and Sunni factions, and many believed that Sadr’s faction had reached an agreement with the Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Sunni Al-Halbousi Party to form a government, but the situation seems more difficult than imagined.”

Kakaei said there are two scenarios about the formation of the government in Iraq, adding that the first scenario is that Sadr’s faction, as it has announced, would authorize the Shia coordination front to form a government, and in the coordination front faction, it seems that the person who determines is Nouri al-Maliki.

He added that al-Maliki has said he is making efforts to accomplish a political agreement to form the government.

“Al-Maliki, given his political experience, seeks to seize this opportunity for political consensus among Shia, Kurdish and Sunni forces, but al-Maliki’s own political experience is seen as a constraint by some Iraqi groups, as al-Maliki’s popularity is low; Therefore, it seems difficult for al-Maliki to align himself with the Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party.”

Kakaei added that al-Maliki has even stated that he intends to reconcile the Kurdish factions regarding the presidential candidate, but this promise will be fulfilled if either the Patriotic Union or the Democratic Party drops their promises and conditions, which is also somewhat difficult and unimaginable. It is also unclear to what extent the Sunni faction sees the conditions conducive to consensus with the Shia coordination front.

According to Kakaei, the second scenario is that the coordination front will not be able to provide the necessary conditions for the formation of the government after the deadline set by Sadr, in which case the playing field will be more open for the Sadrists and they will try to reach a consensus for the main positions.

He explained that in those circumstances, the Sadrists’ demand for an alliance with the Kurds and Sunnis is more achievable, and the Sadr group expects the coordination front to cooperate, which is also difficult.

“According to the first scenario, if the coordination front succeeds in forming a government, the Sadrists may be in opposition to the government, and if it is the other way around, the coordination front may play the role of a critic. However, with reference to Iraq’s recent political struggles over government formation, Iraq may continue to be in a state of disarray with no government in place, leading to groups being forced to hold re-elections.”

Kakaei said that with all these talks and political debates between the currents in Iraq from all three main spectrums, the important point is the political consensus among all groups or their agreement to form a government by way of political agreement outside the parliament.

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