News / Middle East

Iraq's Leaders Back Fragile Power-Sharing Deal

Iraq's President Jalal Talabani, center left, shakes hands with Osama al-Nujeifi, center right, the elected parliament speaker during a Parliament session in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Nov. 11, 2010. Iraq's president gave Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Mali
Iraq's President Jalal Talabani, center left, shakes hands with Osama al-Nujeifi, center right, the elected parliament speaker during a Parliament session in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Nov. 11, 2010. Iraq's president gave Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Mali

Iraq's president has asked Shi'ite incumbent Nouri al-Maliki to retain his position as prime minister and form a new government, but a dispute in parliament on a newly reached power-sharing deal prompted most of the Sunni-backed opposition to walk out, underscoring the agreement's fragility.

Iraqi lawmakers Thursday re-elected Jalal Talabani as president. The Kurdish leader then nominated Mr. Maliki to form a unity government, paving the way for his return to office for another four-year term. Under Iraqi law, he has 30 days to form his Cabinet.

But newly elected parliament speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, a Sunni Arab, and roughly two-thirds of the other 91 lawmakers from the Iraqiya coalition -- including former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi -- walked out of Thursday's session to protest the rejection of a series of demands they made.

Among them were commitments to release detainees and reverse the disqualification of three Iraqiya candidates for their alleged ties to the outlawed Ba'ath Party of executed former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Sunnis view the controversial de-Baathification process as a Shi'ite attempt to bar them from returning to power.

Nujaifi later returned to the session, where voting had continued on Mr. Talabani's re-election. Earlier Thursday, parliament members also elected a Sadrist Movement member and a Kurdistan Alliance lawmaker as deputy speakers.

The walkout underlined the Sunni minority's ambivalence over the prospective new unity government outlined in the deal, which ensures continued Shi'ite domination while giving Sunnis a role far short of the greater political power they seek.

U.S. President Barack Obama Thursday welcomed the progress but urged Iraqi leaders involved in the fragile power-sharing arrangement to aim for an "inclusive government." The White House said Mr. Obama spoke to several Iraqi leaders in recent days and stressed the need for Mr. Allawi, other Iraqiya members and all the winning political blocs to hold leadership posts in the country's new government.

Kurdish regional President Masoud Barzani, who brokered the agreement, said Thursday Mr. Allawi would lead a newly created committee overseeing foreign policy and national security, the National Council for Strategic Policies. The council's powers, however, remain undefined.

For their part, Iraqi Kurds feel they have solidified their role in government. Though the presidency is a largely symbolic position, Mr. Talabani has been able to wield considerable power because of his background as a longtime Kurdish leader.

Mr. Allawi's Iraqiya alliance won the most seats in inconclusive March elections but was unable to gain enough support from other parties to create a majority coalition. Iraqiya's inability to find political partners allowed Mr. Maliki, who partnered with anti-American Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in an Iranian-backed coalition, to gain momentum and support.

If the shaky deal holds, it could end the stalemate that has paralyzed Iraqi state institutions as security forces battle insurgents who have taken advantage of the political vacuum to stoke violence.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.

You May Like

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More