Maliki looks for an alternative Shiite alliance
The Dawa Party of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is exploring the possibility of creating a rival Shiite coalition to the powerful United Iraqi Alliance, Sot al-Iraq reported Monday.
Dawa is rumored to be in the process of courting former members of the UIA, led by Dawa's rival Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, and other parties under the condition that members embrace a platform advocating a strong central government.
Members of the Sadrist Movement and Fadhila, both Shiite parties, withdrew from UIA in 2007 citing political differences. Their departure, along with earlier decisions to leave the party by Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress, weakened UIA to some extent.
Hayder al-Abadi with Dawa said a new alliance is needed to pursue a national interest with updated principles, noting UIA was formed in 2005 in a different political environment.
Abadi said the new alliance would not be sectarian and would back the notion of a strong central government. He also said the platform would embrace national development with a special emphasis on restoring municipal services.
There is no intention to oppose Maliki
Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdul Mehdi said his al-Mehrab Martyr List is open to new ideas, in essence denying plans to file a no-confidence vote against the prime minister, Shabab al-Iraqi reported Monday.
The Shiite vice president made his comments following a visit to the holy Shiite city of Najaf to visit with the revered Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani.
The vice president said the Shiite slate, backed by the influential Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, does not intend to form alliances to tip the balance of power in favor of one particular party.
The vice president added that any negotiations concerning political alliances at the local and national level were only intended to address the demands of the people most efficiently.
The State of Law coalition of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki won strong backing in the Iraqi provincial elections in January, though the margin of victory was too slim to form a majority.
Agreements on the speaker of Parliament
Abbas al-Bayati with the United Iraqi Alliance said a candidate for the speaker of Parliament would emerge from outside the current list, Addustour reported Monday.
Bayati said lawmakers from a variety of blocs met extensively during the weekend to discuss the possibility of appointing a member who is not from the list of candidates offered by the various parties.
Mahmoud Mashhadani stepped down from the position of speaker in December following a row with members of Parliament.
Officials with a coordination committee tasked with overseeing the vetting process called for a democratic competition to decide who best would lead the Parliament.
Lawmaker Omar al-Jibouri said it was time to put political differences aside and move swiftly to appoint a new speaker as early as Wednesday.
Jibouri said unless a speaker is chosen, a move may be considered to dissolve the Iraqi Parliament because it has proven incapable of finding a solution to the crisis left in the wake of the Mashhadani resignation.
(Edited by Daniel Graeber)