By Reidar Visser (www.historiae.org)
13 February 2011
“A law passed in early January set a ceiling on a maximum three vice-presidents, but Talabani has recently begun calling for a fourth Turkmen deputy to be included alongside his current nominees for the post (Tariq al-Hashemi of Iraqiyya, Adil Abd al-Mahdi of ISCI and Khudayr al-Khuzai of the Daawa/Tanzim al-Iraq). This move met with resistance from both Maliki and those who thought more vice presidents would just be a waste of money, so on today’s agenda was only a motion for parliament to confirm Hashemi, Abd al-Mahdi and Khuzai.
However, in today’s session, a temporary alliance that had warmed up to Talabani’s ideas for a Turkmen vice president – consisting reportedly of the Kurds, Iraqiyya and the Sadrists and hence somewhat reminiscent in composition of the opposition that Maliki was facing in early 2010 – tried to press for the vote on the presidential deputies to be conducted individually, with a tacit understanding that Khuzai might be voted out to leave room for a Turkmen.
Maliki’s allies reacted to this, and with some reason since the relevant law just talks about a “nomination” (tarshih) by the president to be confirmed by parliament, which sounds pretty much like a singular bundle of names and a single vote. At any rate, on tomorrow’s parliamentary agenda is included a vote on an amendment to the law on the presidential deputies that will likely create a fourth deputy and thereby highlight the institution of the presidency as playground for those who want to highlight the consociational aspect of Iraqi democracy, i.e. ethno-sectarian quotas.”
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