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Shiites begin talks to form Iraq coalition government.

Byline: Duraid Al Baik

Dubai Major Shiite groups are in talks to form a bigger coalition ahead of the first meeting of the newly-elected parliament in 10 days.

According to reports, talks are under way between the representatives from the State of Law bloc, led by the outgoing prime minister Nouri Al Maliki and the Iraqi National Alliance (INA).

The State of Law bloc, the second largest group with 89 seats, is mainly formed from Dawa Party, while the INA, an alliance of three Shiite groups, is an offshoot of Dawa Party with Ebrahim Al Jaafari, Ammar Al Hakim of the Higher Islamic Council and Moqtada Al Sadr as its leaders.

Aides to incumbent Al Maliki on Monday met with Al Sadr in the Iranian city of Qom to discuss moves to form a coalition government.

Al Jaafari, the former leader of Dawa, quit the party some two years ago because of Al Maliki's alleged dictatorial attitude.

As both blocs have strong ties with Iran, Al Jaafari might bow to a request from the Iranian leadership to patch up his differences with Al Maliki. Al Maliki was quoted as saying that he was willing to see the unification of Shiite ranks even if this meant to surrender the prime minister's post.

"Iran has thrown its full weight behind the line of negotiations amongst Shiite groups to ensure its influence in Iraqi politics. It sees the secular Shiite Eyad Allawi, who leads the Iraqiya, as a man who cannot be trusted due to his secular and political background. Iraqiya has a slim lead of two seats over the State of Law but Allawi was subjected to slander because Sunnis with Baathist background voted for him," Dr Ahmad Jalal Hussain, head of the Iraqi Arab Research Centre in Baghdad, has been quoted as saying.

He said the situation is dangerous at the moment and it is not fair to deny Allawi his legitimate right to form a government.

Dr Hussain said bending the law to allow the formation of alliances after the election as per the Supreme Court decision was a bad move now. Such alliances will have serious impact on the security of the country, he added.

See also Page 10

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Mar 31, 2010
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