Allawi Asks INL Ministers to Boycott Cabinet
Baghdad, Aug 6, (VOI) – Iyad Allawi, leader of the Iraqi National List, asked the five INL ministers not to attend the cabinet meetings and to boycott Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as “a first step to withdraw from the Iraqi government” in protest against its policies, an INL official said.
“Allawi’s calls came in response to the Iraqi premier’s failure to fulfill the pledges he had taken upon himself for the INL five months ago,” Osama al-Nejefi, an INL member of the Iraqi parliament, told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).
Nejefi did not reveal the INL’s demands but said “they have to do with political and security reforms.” He noted that the INL ministers will settle for doing the necessary works of their ministries from their offices without having to attend any cabinet meetings to avoid causing delays in citizens’ interests.”
The INL is the largest fourth bloc in the Iraqi parliament with 24 out of a total 275 seats. The largest bloc is the Shiite Unified Iraqi Coalition (UIC) with 115 seats, followed by the Kurdistan Coalition (KC) with 55 and the Sunni Iraqi Accordance Front (IAF) with 44.
The five portfolios of the INL ministers are justice, communications, human rights, science and a state ministry.
Maliki’s government is facing a quandary after the INL’s decision, preceded by the IAF’s decision to a week ago to withdraw its five ministers and Depurty Premier Sallam al-Zawbaie from the government allegedly due to its failure to deliver on its promises for requested reforms.
The Sadrist bloc, or Iraqis loyal to Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr, had withdrawn its six ministers from the government for the latter’s failure to come up with a timetable for the U.S. forces’ pullout from Iraq.
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani paid a visit on Sunday to Vice President Tareq al-Hashimi, a leading IAF member, and agreed to convene a meeting on Monday to discuss the Sunni front’s demands for the Maliki government.
A statement issued by Hashimi’s office after the meeting indicated that Talabani conveyed to his deputy the outcome of a meeting held on Sunday morning between the Iraqi president and Premier Maliki, which was attended by Vice Premier Adel Abdul-Mahdi.
Maliki had said on Sunday that “efforts were going on to dissuade the IAF from its decision to withdraw from the government.”
“We agreed on doing everything we can to have the brothers in the IAF back to their roles and work in accordance with agreements during the talks to reconsider the policies and mend what we can,” Maliki said in statements after his meeting with Talabani.