Iraq parliament speaker threatens to oust
June 22, 2012
Sunni leader and the speaker of Iraq’s parliament
Osama al-Nujaifi, left, speaks to Iraqi's Prime
Minister Nouri al- Maliki during the 30th
anniversary of the founding of the Badr Organization
in Baghdad 2012. Photo: AP
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BAGHDAD, — The speaker of Iraq’s
parliament declared Thursday that lawmakers are
prepared to oust the nation’s prime minister if he
refuses to share authority with his political
opponents and break a deadlock that has all but
paralyzed the government.
The threat by Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, a leader in
the Sunni-dominated Al-Iraqiyya political coalition,
counters a claim last week by Iraq’s president that
there is not enough support in parliament to call a
vote to push Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki from
Speaking to reporters Thursday, Nujaifi said he
personally believes Maliki, a Shiite Muslim, should
step down from the job that he barely won after
national elections in 2010 failed to produce a clear
Since then – and particularly after U.S. troops left
Iraq last December – critics have accused Maliki of
sidelining his political opponents and violating
agreements to share power within a unity government.
The political deadlock has all but brought Iraq’s
government to a standstill so far this year.
Bickering between the Shiite-dominated government in
Baghdad and the self-ruled Kurdish region in Iraq’s
north threatens to stunt vital foreign investment in
the country’s lucrative oil industry.
Provinces with majority Sunni populations have
threatened to create their own autonomous regions.
Political lethargy, combined with red tape, has
delayed improvements in many areas,www.ekurd.net
including the nation’s electricity system, job
creation and rooting out government corruption.
The deadlock has continued against a backdrop of
sporadic but deadly bursts of violence: 120 Iraqis
have been killed over the last 10 days alone in
bombings mostly targeting Shiite pilgrims and
security officials across Baghdad and beyond.
“This is a dangerous matter that if continued would
lead to catastrophic consequences,” Nujaifi said as
parliament prepared to return to work after a
He said Maliki would be summoned for questioning in
front of parliament within days. “And if there is a
parliament majority that is not convinced with the
results of the questioning, then the no-confidence
vote will take place,” Nujaifi said. He called the
process “an attempt to put the country on the right
In April, heeding complaints from his followers,
hard-line Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr met with
Sunni and Kurdish leaders in what was widely viewed
as a summit to plot Maliki’s ouster. But Thursday,
Sadr released a statement on his website saying “he
tends not to intervene” in such matters.
Last week, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd,
said a preliminary count of lawmakers who want
Maliki to step down fell four short of the 164 votes
needed to force the issue. Nujaifi denied that,
saying that while a few lawmakers backed off, “the
number is still enough.”
Responding, the prime minister’s media adviser, Ali
al-Moussawi, said Maliki will answer parliament’s
questions and respects his opponents’ rights to call
for the no-confidence vote. “But we are confident
that they will fail to secure the needed 164 votes,”
Moussawi said Thursday.
Maliki also has called for a special session of
parliament to address lawmakers in public, said Safa
al-Din al-Safi, the state minister for parliament
affairs. A date for that session has not yet been
Nujaifi also said he, too, would step down if enough
lawmakers voted to expel him – a process he said was
firmly guaranteed under Iraq’s constitution.
By Lara Jakes - AP
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