“People on the street are counting on us,” said Hussein al-Sadr, a moderate Shiite cleric who is a member of the Iraqi List, the slate formed by Ayad Allawi, the interim prime minister. “What are we going to tell the people who went to vote on Jan. 30?”
Indeed. And what is the Right-Wing Media Circus going to tell the American people about the wonders of the purple-finger election?
The second meeting of the new Iraqi constitutional assembly descended into a series of contentious exchanges today, as some members accused others of hijacking the political process and betraying the Iraqi people by failing to form a government.
Prominent politicians also said in interviews that the delay in forming a government could force the assembly to take an extra half-year to write the permanent constitution, pushing the deadline for a first draft well beyond the original target date of Aug. 15…
The anger boiled over into a shouting match today and showed the fiery tensions that are rising as the main political parties fail to reach an agreement to form a coalition government, more than two months after Iraqi voters defied insurgent threats to vote in the first free elections here in a half-century.
And lest anyone think that the difficulty of forming a government is primarily ethnic or religious, the following makes clear that greed and mistrust are the driving factors:
Before the meeting began, leading politicians said in interviews that all the sides were close to agreeing on a new government, but were haggling over posts. One of the most contentious jobs is that of oil minister. The Shiites and Kurds are each vying for the position, said Saad Jawad Qindeel, an assembly member and a representative of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a prominent Shiite party.
“The negotiation regarding this is held up, is frozen,” he said.
The meeting of the Iraqi constitutional assembly intended to appoint a speaker today. They were unable to do so, primarily because the leading candidate, Sheik Ghazi al-Yawer, a Sunni, took his name out of the running. Another Sunni, Fawaz al-Jabar, may become the new leading candidate.
If there is one positive in all this, it is the continued recognition on the part of Sistani’s dominate faction, that efforts must be made to compromise and that the viability of a new government will depend on inclusiveness. Yet, the longer the formation of the government is delayed, the more problematic the roadmap, and the longer before we’ll see a draw down of U.S. troops in Iraq.
The 275-member National Assembly is working on a tight timetable. It is supposed to have a draft of the constitution ready by August, though a measure in the transitional law approved a year ago allows the president and two vice-presidents to ask for a six-month extension. If the assembly adheres to the original schedule, then full-term elections would be held at the end of the year.New York Times: Free Registration
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