Al-Hakim: Presidential Council OK
Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq and a member of the US-appointed Interim Governing Council, has according to AFP given his assent to the presidential council proposed by Adnan Pachachi and the Sunnis.
Pachachi had suggested a rotating 3-man presidency, which would appoint the prime minister and the cabinet, and would have a veto over laws passed by parliament. In essence, the presidential council would function as a sort of small Senate, but confusingly placed in the executive branch. It would itself be elected by the transitional parliament. It would be expected to have a representative from each of the three major ethnic groups, Shiites, Sunni Arabs, and Kurds.
Al-Hakim said, “The idea of a sovereignty council is not rejected from our side.” He is further quoted as saying, “The reason to have this council is to solve a problem. If we want to talk more frankly, the Iraqi people have concerns. The Kurds suffered from injustice, they have fears and they would like to occupy different [government] positions.” He continued, “Everyone should be reassured, we want to reassure them all and we want everyone to participate actively in this period until a constitution is drafted and elections are held . . . The number of members [in the presidential council] should be studied. If the problem can be solved by three members, let it be three; if it’s five, then it should be five, and if more are needed, then there should be more.“
I think this idea of a multi-person rotating presidency is a horrible idea, guaranteed to cause gridlock in the executive branch. If they want a senate to over-rule the Shiite majority in the parliament, they should just create a senate. One executive is enough.
Meanwhile, the London daily al-Hayat quoted Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani as warning on Wednesday, “A difficult confrontation is coming next, with the forces of evil that wish to prevent Iraqis from enjoying their right to a free and democratic life.” The article gives no context for this statement, so it is hard to know what exactly he is warning against, but it may be a reference to the Sunni radicals, of the sort who seem to have been responsible for the massive Irbil bombings on Sunday.
The same newspaper said that Iraqi Islamic Party leader Muhsin Abdul Hamid said that he finds the prospect of a civil war in Iraq unlikely.