Translation: Hamed Ahmed
A British report revealed that the leader of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, sought to take a new step, which is to keep Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi for a period of up to a year, stressing that the Alliance to Save a Homeland does not see a problem in delaying the formation of the government.
A report by the British (Middle East Eye) website, translated by (Al-Mada), stated that “the leader of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, after giving the independents an opportunity to nominate a prime minister, is now looking for the other option to break the political deadlock that the country is going through, and that is to keep the current prime minister.” Mustafa Al-Kazemi.
And the report continued, “Al-Sadr had called a week ago the independents in Parliament, who number about 40 deputies, to form their own bloc and appoint a prime minister, and he will be supportive of them.”
And he pointed out, “Iraqi political leaders participating in the government formation talks mentioned that Al-Sadr does not expect the independents to be able to achieve this, and therefore he is looking, instead of this matter, to keep Prime Minister Al-Kazemi for a period of six months to a year.” A prominent leader in the Save the Homeland Alliance said, “Al-Sadr is not in a hurry to form a government,” noting that “one of the strongly proposed solutions now is to keep the current situation as it is for a period of six months to a year.” He denied, “there is a local or international circumstance or factor that pressures any party in the tripartite alliance to expedite the formation of the government.”
The leader stressed, “The United States is currently preoccupied in another part of the world and does not care much about what is currently happening in Iraq,” noting that “Iran believes that the continuation of the current situation is less harmful to it than the outbreak of a Shiite-Shiite conflict.”
The report stressed that “Al-Sadr has been trying, since winning the elections in October, to form a majority government in alliance with the Kurds and Sunnis.” And he indicated, “This is rejected by other political parties from Shiite parties represented by the coordination framework, as it decided to boycott parliament sessions to ensure that a quorum would not be obtained that would facilitate the formation of a government, but the continuation of the situation as it was would also be harmful.” And the report added, “If Al-Sadr manages to continue imposing his dominance over Parliament and Al-Kazemi’s government, the coordination framework parties will find their influence and authority to decline.” And he continued, “Al-Sadr, and to prove the seriousness of his plan, did not wait for the two-week deadline he gave to the independents to move forward with his next steps. He and his allies announced the continuation of Parliament’s work regardless of whether the boycotters attended or not.” The report stressed, “The necessity requires that two-thirds of parliament members sit down to choose the President of the Republic, but half of the (166 deputies) can pass most legislative decisions, and the number of Sadr’s deputies and his allies is 186.”
And he added, “The presidency of the parliament, led by Muhammad al-Halbousi and his two deputies from the Sadrist movement and the Kurdistan Democratic Party, pledged to continue parliament sessions.” The report quoted “three members of parliament saying that Hakem al-Zamili, the deputy speaker of parliament, told the heads of parliamentary blocs that the appointments of parliament committees had been agreed upon and that work to form them would begin immediately.”
And he added, “The first thing that must be passed in the list sequence is the annual budget, but the current disputes, the lack of parliament sessions and the delay in forming parliamentary committees have prevented it from being ratified so far.” The report went on to state that “government projects, departments and social welfare networks may soon run out of money in their budgets, with the budget law not being passed.” To avoid this from happening, the report stated that “Al-Sadr and his allies submitted last month a draft of a small budget called the Emergency Support Law for Food Security and Development, which requires an urgent vote.” He added, “The law may entail collecting approximately 35 trillion Iraqi dinars per month (about $23 billion) from the monthly surplus for oil sales, grants, international donations and loans, which are secured and deposited in a bank account under the supervision of the Ministry of Finance.” The report stated, “The law is working in a fundamental way to maintain the continuation of the country’s tasks for several months without approving the annual budget.”
A prominent Sadrist leader stressed that “the country will not be allowed to remain hostage, and we will implement the constitution, which speaks of the necessity of the presence of Parliament, the Presidency of the Republic and the government, and these elements are present at the present time, and therefore there is no problem in delaying the formation of a new government for several months.” The report also stated, “The political forces have been working since 2003 according to the power partnership agreement, where important positions and departments, military and civil, are divided between parties according to their representation in Parliament.” He continues, “A part of the positions are granted on the basis of courtesy and preference, and another part is given as a reward, and that only Parliament has the right to approve these appointments in these positions.” And the report indicated, “The absence of political consensus and amid intense competition between the parliamentary blocs, made Al-Kazemi’s government and the governments that preceded him in recent years resort to filling those positions with agency officials, on a temporary basis, as a evasion of the parliamentary process.”
He cautioned, “Leaders in the Sadrist movement said that the process of dominating positions and appointments without Parliament’s approval will end soon.”
A prominent member of the Sadrist movement stated, “Al-Sadr’s alliance has the strength to continue or dissolve parliament, and that the situation as it is will not discourage his project. And that would greatly harm his opponents.”
The Sadrist leader went on to say, “There is a new philosophy for the administration, and this philosophy needs new men, and we will work accordingly by changing the old team with a new one, and we will end the country’s administration by proxy. This is what everyone wants and this is what we will do.”