Maliki Opponents Try New Tact to Remove Him from Power
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region— Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Maliki’s rivals are determined to unseat him, and they have created three committees -- ministerial, parliamentary and legal -- to fulfill the task after their attempt to withdraw confidence through President Jalal Talabani failed.
The committees are attempting to bring Maliki before parliament for questioning.
Ministerial committee members include deputy PM Rozh Nuri Shawais, Muhammad Alawi from the Iraqiya bloc and Muhammad Daraji from the Sadr Movement. The parliamentary committee includes all three political factions that oppose Maliki in parliament, and the legal committee comprises six members, two from each of the three political factions.
Ahmad Masari, an MP from the Iraqiya bloc, says, “The task of the committees is to prepare a case to summon Maliki to parliament for questioning.”
Masari says that the security situation is enough to use against Maliki and withdraw confidence from him.
“Maliki alone is responsible (for security), being the commander in chief.” Masari says.
Amir Kanani, an official from the Sadr Movement, told Rudaw, “The committees will collect legal evidence to use against Maliki when he attends parliament for questioning.”
The idea of bringing Maliki to parliament for questioning came after Talabani rejected the call for a vote of no confidence. The office of the presidency issued a statement saying, “The number of votes isn’t enough to withdraw confidence from Maliki.”
The presidential statement also said, “The president is not going to call for a vote of no confidence for four reasons: First, the majority of the Council of Ministries is Shia and they must be convinced through negotiation to change their representative as prime minister. Second, the president will not stand against the Shia majority’s rights, with all due respect to the Sadr Movement who represents a handful of Shias in parliament.”
The Iraqiya bloc and the Sadr Movement told Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani they would not allow the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) to participate in the committees unless they finalize their position on the issue. Last week, the PUK political bureau decided to share the same position as the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).
Regarding PUK’s new attitude, Amir Kinani, a representative of Muqtada Sadr, says, “The PUK told us they will support withdrawing confidence from Maliki by bringing him to parliament for questioning.”
Khalid Shwani, chair of the parliamentary legal committee and a senior leader in the PUK, told Rudaw, “PUK’s position is clear. We unite our decision with the other Kurdish political parties.”
The issue of withdrawing confidence from Maliki has created differences between the PUK and KDP – Kurdistan Region’s two main political parties. But Fuad Hussein, the Kurdistan president’s chief of staff, said the differences over Maliki will not affect the Kurdish unity.
“We, as Kurds, will not bring any external issues into Kurdistan or damage our unity for anybody outside,” he said.
Hussein added that Kurdish political groups would solve their issues internally.
The Iraqiya bloc, a Sunni-majority political faction, is disappointed in Talabani’s position. Haidar Mulla, an Iraqiya spokesperson says, “We know that Talabani will not send a vote of no confidence against Maliki to parliament.”
Regarding Talabani’s letter to the leaders of Iraqiya, the Kurdistani Alliance and the Sadr Movement, in which he threatened resignation if forced to back the vote, the Iraqiya spokesperson said, “The thing that is important to us is PUK’s decision and they support withdrawing confidence from Maliki.”
Ayad Alawi, head of the Iraqiya bloc and Iraq’s former prime minister, previously announced that withdrawing confidence from Maliki had been Talabani’s idea in the first place. The presidential office dismissed the claim, saying, “Alawi knows too well who suggested the idea first.”
Mulla also insists that the suggestion was Talabani’s.
He says, “The subject of withdrawing confidence from Maliki was Talabani’s suggestion during the Erbil meeting at the end of April. It is available in writing.” He also said, “Those, who doubt Alawi’s words can take a look at the document of the Erbil meeting and know for sure that it was his suggestion.”