Indeed, the [United Iraqi Alliance] has started to work with other candidate lists, especially with the Kurdistan Coalition List and the Iraqi Accordance Front. Preliminary talks were conducted at the time for exploring the atmosphere and reaching an agreement on principal points. After the final and definite election results were announced [last week] and the prime minister [candidate for the United Iraqi Alliance] was named, this body entered serious negotiations with bodies representing those candidate lists on forming the government. RFI:
What are the reasons that have led the United Iraqi Alliance to negotiate with the Kurdistan Coalition List and the Iraqi Accordance Front in particular? Al-Askari:
The number [of seats] they have in the Council of Representatives and the support they have enjoyed on the Iraqi scene. Besides that, each of them represents a specific segment of Iraqi society. These three segments [represented by each of the three political blocs], when they reach agreement, cover the whole of the Iraqi scene. RFI:
Some parts of the Iraqi National List, the Iraqi National Dialogue Front, and the Iraqi Accordance Front have most recently united in a single bloc. Will you negotiate with this bloc as a whole, or will you focus only on one part of it, the Iraqi Accordance Front for instance? Al-Askari:
No. When those three candidate lists agreed on forming one bloc, the talks are naturally held with representatives of the bloc, irrespective of who they represent. In the end, they represent this broad bloc, and that may facilitate our dialogue with them. Instead of talking to several parties, there are talks with one single delegation and various issues are discussed with it for reaching an agreement. RFI:
Have any views incompatible with yours come out during the negotiations, especially on the part of the Iraqi Accordance Front? Al-Askari:
There may be some difficulties and objections from any of the candidate lists but, through the dialogue, we are determined to reach some common attitudes and an agreement based on them. RFI:
Nadim al-Jabiri has confirmed that the Iraqi National List [led by Iyad Allawi] will be present at the meeting where candidate lists will discuss the United Iraqi Alliance's nomination of Ibrahim al-Ja'fari for the next prime minister. Nadim al-Jabiri:
The National Iraqi List, the Iraqi Accordance Front, the Iraqi Front for National Dialogue, and the Kurdistan Coalition List will gather today to discuss their views and opinions on the United Iraqi Alliance's decision on nominating Ibrahim al-Ja'fari for the next prime minister, and on the form of their participation in the next government. RFI:
The United Iraqi Alliance has formed a body in charge of distributing the ministerial posts. Can you reveal any details whether decisions have been reached? Al-Jabiri:
There is no secrecy in these issues. The United Iraqi Alliance has formed a seven-member committee that represents the leaderships of the member parties [in the alliance]. This committee is a part of the institutional structure of the alliance. It discusses decisive and strategic issues and makes decisions according to what it sees as the most convenient and the most beneficial for the country.
The United Iraqi Alliance has not determined yet what ministerial posts it will assume. That is open to discussion and dialogue with the other candidate lists that will be allotted their proportions of ministries. In the process of talks and negotiations with them, it will be agreed which ministries will go, let us say, to the Kurdistan Coalition List, and which ones to the United Iraqi Alliance. After the ministries assigned to the United Iraqi Alliance are determined, talks and agreements between the member parties of the alliance will distribute those ministries.
(translation by Petr Kubalek)
RFE/RL's coverage, background, and analysis of Iraq's December 15, 2005, legislative elections.