Despite an announcement yesterday that the meeting had been cancelled, Iraqiya bloc leader Ayad Allawi today met with Iraqi National Alliance (INA) leader Moqtada al-Sadr, in the first such meeting and a possible step toward a coalition government.
Allawi declared that the meeting was “positive” while Sadr said that Allawi had signaled a willingness to “make concessions to put an end to Iraq’s political crisis.” Sadr added that he was putting aside past differences with Allawi, after the two fought an open war during Allawi’s term as prime minister.
Allawi’s bloc won 91 seats in the March 7 election, the most of any bloc. The INA won 70 seats, and the two combined would be able to form a coalition government with the help of a minor third party.
But the State of Law bloc also won 89 seats and is also in a position to form a government if they could ally with either Iraqiya or the INA. None of the three blocs likes one another at all, however, which is why four and a half months later Iraq still doesn’t have a coalition government.
Iraqiya has insisted on Allawi as the next prime minister, with State of Law demanding current prime minister Nouri al-Maliki and the INA calling for Ibrahim al-Jaafari. Any coalition building will largely depend on one of the three being willing to finally abandon the demand. So far it is premature to predict which, if any, will do so.