Shiite Coordination Framework launches new initiative to resolve Iraq's political deadlock

The SCF initiative includes a roadmap for resuming negotiation among the political parties, a proposal for Erbil-Baghdad disputes, guidance for choosing the next Iraqi president and prime minister, and calls for restructuring Iraq's electoral institution and changing its members.
Iraqi Shiite Muslim clerics, supporters of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), demonstrate in the capital Baghdad's Tahrir Square, December 5, 2019. (Photo: AFP)
Iraqi Shiite Muslim clerics, supporters of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), demonstrate in the capital Baghdad's Tahrir Square, December 5, 2019. (Photo: AFP)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Shite Coordination Framework (SCF) launched a new initiative on Tuesday to resolve the ongoing political impasse in Iraq and form a new government. 

The SCF initiative includes a roadmap for resuming negotiation among the political parties, a proposal for Erbil-Baghdad disputes, guidance for choosing the next Iraqi president and prime minister, and calls for restructuring Iraq's electoral institution and changing its members. 

In a statement, the SCF announced that, together with allied political parties, it will soon form a negotiating committee to begin dialogue with the other political parties to implement its initiative.

"In observance of the constitutional terms and to preserve the progress of the democratic process, we call on all parties to sit at the table and discuss solutions and remedies without preconditions or restrictions," read the SCF statement. It added that all parties need to put the interest of the country and its citizens ahead of all other considerations.

According to the statement, the Shiite parliamentary political parties who form the biggest Shiite alliance in the parliament can agree on nominating a candidate for prime minister. 

The statement also calls on the independent members of the parliament to nominate a candidate for the top position. Then that candidate must get the approval of the Shiite political parties in the biggest Shiite alliance in the parliament. 

"The ruling majority pledges to support the opposition, empower it in the House of Representatives and consolidate its role in monitoring the government's performance by having the opposition chair important parliamentary committees and the oversight bodies," read the statement. 

"In return, the opposition should also pledge not to obstruct the House's sessions and allow the ruling majority to complete the constitutional entitlements," the statement added.

The SCF initiative leaves the option of participation in the next government or the opposition open and available to all. 

The statement calls on all parties to commit to implementing the following points: 

- "To amend the elections law, to change the members of Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) and restructure it." 

- "To preserve the rights of minorities, protect them, and preserve their interests through equal opportunities, and freedom of belief."

- "To organize the relationship between the federal government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government in a way that guarantees the rights of all with high transparency. To find appropriate solutions to the outstanding problems between them in accordance with the constitution. For example, the federal oil and gas law legislation and how to manage the country's wealth and support the Regional Guard Brigades and the Peshmerga and their commitment to Iraq's leadership of the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces."

- "To reconstruct the liberated areas and solve the problems of the internally displaced persons (IDPs), and work on everything that enhances confidence in the political process through a government that cares for all."

- "To establish a fund to support the poorest governorates, according to the official indicators of the Ministry of Planning. To advance education, health, and housing services for the poor governorates."

- "All political forces pledge to reject and prevent attempts at normalization with the usurping Zionist entity (Israel)."

- "To activate the oversight and parliamentary institutions and create the appropriate legislation to fight corruption and not protect any person proven guilty according to the law."

- "To draft a ministerial plan and a government program for the next phase, set a timetable for its implementation, define criteria for selecting the ministerial team, and focus on service aspects."

On Apr. 2, the SCF intended to launch an initiative to resolve the political impasse. However, Muqtada al-Sadr, leader of the larger Saving the Homeland coalition, preempted that initiative by announcing his withdrawal from the government formation efforts. He gave the SCF 40 days to form a new government or else accept their failure and enter the opposition. 

Read More: Shiite Coordination Framework avoids responding to al-Sadr's withdrawal, announces move to resolve "political blockage"

Sadr heads the influential Sadrist Movement. He has been trying to form a "national majority government" along with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Sunni Siyada Alliance. 

In early April, the SCF called on all sides to take responsibility and not "insist on breaking wills," which it warned will irreparably complicate the situation at the expense of the Iraqi people. 

The Framework announced its "vision to address the political deadlock, which is based on several foundations, the details of which will be presented by the Framework in its dialogue with political forces."

However, this dialogue didn't happen due to Sadr's withdrawal.

The SCF's latest initiative will also most likely be rejected by Sadr and his Sunni and Kurdish allies since it doesn't present any real solutions for Iraq's political, economic, and security situation.

Political observers see the new SCF initiative as sloganeering aimed at perpetuating the power of pro-Iranian parties in Iraq. 

Having the SCF initiative call for amending the elections law, changing the members of the IHEC, and restructuring the institution sends a crystal-clear signal that this initiative is more a ploy to win votes for the SCF than an honest solution to the political deadlock.