Wednesday, 27 June 2012, 07:20 GMT
Iraqi President tries for an elusive national congress at the fourth attempt


Iraqi political leaders during a meeting about withdrawing support from Maliki in Erbil, April 28, 2012./GLOBE PHOTO/Safin Hamid

The Kurdish Globe

MP says Talabani's threat of resignation forced Maliki's opponents to back down

As previous calls by the Iraqi President Jalal Talabani for a national congress as an effort to put an end to the country's political crisis proved unsuccessful, there is little hope that his fourth call will be welcomed by all the political groups in the country.

While three major Iraqi groups, the Kurds, the Al Iraqiya Bloc and the Sadrists, were busy with withdrawing support from Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Maliki and his cabinet, President Talabani wrote a letter to them in which he reiterated that everyone should follow the constitution while also threatening to resign if opponents of Maliki continued to exert pressure to oust Maliki.

Adil Abdullah, member of the Iraqi Council of Representatives from Talabani's party, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), says that according to the constitution, the president is the guardian of the constitution and whoever is in this position should not only follow the constitution but also ensure that everyone else follows the constitution as well.

While arguing that the Kurds have followed and respected the constitution and other parties haven't, MP Abdulla told the Globe that Talabani's resignation threat is a serious stance that shows that Talabani is ready to leave his post rather than endure pressure from political groups and "is an answer for those who want him not to follow the constitution."

Adnan Danboos, a member of the Iraqi parliament from the Al Iraqiya Bloc, argues that the President's resignation is not in the interest of the country or its political process, but thinks that this statement by Talabani was a result of all the pressures on him, and as a way to calm down Maliki's opponents.

On the other hand, Fatih Daroghayee, another MP from the Kurdistan Islamic Community Party (KIC) Bloc, believes that Talabani wants to behave as a President and stick to certain principles. He argued that the President wants to act as a mediator rather than a party to the issue.

"If all parties followed the constitution, we would not face this crisis," MP Daroghayee said in an interview with the Kurdish Globe. "The respecting of the constitution by the Kurds and disrespect by the other groups has led to this current situation," he added.

There is a common understanding that Kurds have followed the constitution more than any other political group in the country and other groups such as the Sunnis and Shiites have mainly overlooked it. This has clearly become an obstacle on the path towards solving some key issues such as Article 140, oil and gas law, Peshmerga and budget issues.

After Talabani requested some of the MPs to put their support for the withdrawal of Maliki on hold, Kurdistan Region's President Massoud Barzani and leaders from the Sadr movement and Al Iraqiya Bloc sent a letter to Talabani to request an explanation, and the subsequent letter from Talabani came as a result of this.

Azad Jundiani, spokesperson of the PUK, told the PUK Media news agency that Talabani has proved information about the groups opposing Maliki that indicate interference of other powers in the issue, including Iran and the U.S.

"The political groups hide the reality that there are other regional players since the rise of the political issues in Iraq," explains Jundiani.

Some Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) parliament members refused to comment on the contents of Talabani's letter.

Jawad Jbouri, a parliament member from the Sadr Movement, argues that Talabani should have mentioned in his letter that withdrawing support from Maliki does not mean to deny the National Alliance List from the rights they have obtained from the elections.

As an effort to seek solution to the political problems in the country, Talabani called for a national congress among all the political groups for the fourth time. His first three calls were not met with a positive response.

MP Abdulla says that the factor behind the failure to hold the conference in the past was that some parties had conditions prior to participation.

Although, MP Abdulla is not sure whether this fourth call will have any different impact , he argues that Maliki, State of Law Alliance Bloc is now in favor of the congress.

However, according to Shwan Mohammed, the political parties have lost hope in Maliki as they accuse him of trying to transfer the problems from one stage to another.

"Hence negotiations and meetings do not solve the issues," MP Shwan told the Globe.

The KIU MP, on the other hand, doubts that the political parties will respond positively to the call for the congress, as he argues that a huge distrust has encircled the main political groups.