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Iraq: Kurdistan Coalition Member On The Political Landscape

Iraqi Kurds celebrating President Jalal Talabani's election (epa) Firyad Rawanduzi, a National Assembly member for the Kurdistan Coalition List, spoke to RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq (RFI) on 7 November in Al-Sulaymaniyah.

Rawanduzi: In fact, the political map [of Iraq] has not changed much, apart from some minor changes in the United Iraqi Alliance from which [supreme Shi'ite cleric Ali] al-Sistani's stream left, or some of the politicians who were loyal to al-Sistani's stream and who were led by [Shi'ite parliamentarian] Ali al-Dabbagh. Moreover, [Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister] Ahmad al-Chalabi has left [the United Iraqi Alliance]. But the Shi’ite segment has remained as it was.

The same is true for the segment of Kurdistan where the Kurdistan Coalition List has not gone through big changes, except for the pullout of the Kurdistan Islamic Union that will run in the next elections alone. Regarding the list of [Iyad] Allawi, it has witnessed some changes and has been joined by many politicians and parties. Among them is, for instance, the Iraqis list, led by [National Assembly Speaker] Hajim al-Hasani and [Iraqi Vice President] Sheikh Ghazi Ajil al-Yawir, in addition to the Iraqi Communist Party, the Arab Socialist Movement, the [Democratic Patriotic] Party of Nasir al-Chadirchi, and others. That is why I do not expect big changes to happen, with the exception of the Sunni [Arab] segment that has entered [the electoral process]. Their presence will be strong and they will do their best to win as many [parliament] seats as possible so that they can have an influence in the future [parliament, to be called the] Council of Representatives.

RFI: Who are the groups that have joined the Kurdistan Coalition List?

Rawanduzi: The most important parties there are the two leading parties of Iraqi Kurdistan -- the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Democratic Party, in addition to the [Kurdistan] Communist Party, the Kurdistan Toilers Party, and the [Kurdistan] Social Democratic Party, as well as some Chaldean representatives. This time, also the [Kurdistan] Islamic Group, led by Ali Bapir, has joined the Kurdistan Coalition List. The [Kurdistan Coalition] List has been left by the Kurdistan Islamic Union. Regarding [the news on Arab Socialist Movement leader] Abdullah al-Nasrawi's joining the Kurdistan Coalition List, the news is unsubstantiated because the Arab Socialist Movement has now been included in the Iraqi List led by [Iyad] Allawi.

RFI: What election results do you expect?

Rawanduzi: It would be difficult to predict the election results now. It seems likely, however, that the Shi'ite coalition, or the United Iraqi Alliance, will get the first position. There will be strong competition now between this list, [Iyad] Allawi’s list, and also the Sunni [Arab] coalition. I think that the presence of the Sunni [Arab] coalition in the next Council of Representatives will create a new map in the Council of Representatives, even though this map may not -- in my opinion -- bring about many changes on the main political issues, especially in the issues defined in the constitution that was approved by the Iraqi people [in the 15 October referendum].

(Translated by Petr Kubalek)

RFE/RL Iraq Report

RFE/RL Iraq Report

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