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Iraq's Kurdish Bloc Looks For Coalition Offer

Kurdish leaders Iraqi President Jalal Talabani (center) and Kurdish region President Masud Barzani (right) may consider the offer of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
BAGHDAD -- A top Iraqi Kurd politician says the Kurds will join forces with whichever national political bloc proves "most responsive" to their demands, RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq reports.

Adel Barwari, a leading member of the Kurdistan Alliance, told RFE/RL that former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's Al-Iraqiyah bloc was the furthest from meeting these demands, while current Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's State of Law bloc was the most accommodating.

He added that out of 19 demands presented by the Kurds to the major factions, State of Law had already agreed to 17, and the remaining two were being negotiated.

Barwari said the two demands still under discussion were Article 140 of the constitution providing for resolving the issue of oil-rich, multiethnic Kirkuk and other disputed areas, and the national census.

Meanwhile, Muhammad al-Bayati, a leading member of the Shi'ite Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), told RFE/RL that while the ISCI might be opposed to nominating Maliki for a second term, they would remain a member of the National Alliance with State of Law, the other main Shi'ite bloc.

He said the ISCI would support whichever prime-ministerial candidate won a majority of votes in parliament when it convened.

The March 7 parliamentary elections were inconclusive, with Al-Iraqiyah, State of Law, and the Iraqi National Alliance winning 91, 89, and 70 seats, respectively, in the 325-seat parliament.

The Kurdish factions have 57 seats between them, including 43 held by the Kurdistan Alliance that comprises the two major Kurdish parties, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan led by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, and the Kurdistan Democratic Party led by the Kurdish region's president, Masud Barzani.