Sistani considers the Meeting with the UN Envoy a Success
az-Zaman reported today that informed sources affirmed that Lakhdar Brahimi’s report for the United Nations will include a consensus about the importance of holding (direct) elections, and the specification of a new deadline for doing so after the surrender of sovereignty to the Iraqis. This plan implies acceptance of the idea of an enlarged Interim Governing Council to which power could be handed over by the Coalition Provisional Authority in preparation for 2005 elections. The new council, according to wire services, would be considerably expanded beyond the current 24 members and would be far more representative of Iraqi political groupings and clans than is the current council.
Yesterday, Sistani’s office issued a communique calling his 2 1/2 hour meeting with Brahimi a “success.”
Meanwhile, a board of (Sunni) Muslim clerics suggested that the UN be the body that appoints the extended IGC.
The original November 15 plan for council-based elections by May 31 had striven to arrive at a government with more legitimacy than the US-appointed Interim Governing Council. It now seems clear that such a government, chosen by councils that were elected by notables that were gathered (hand-picked?) by a private Research Triangle firm, would not in fact be more legitimate. Therefore, the US may just as well hand sovereignty over to an expanded IGC on July 1, and allow it to conduct the planning for 2005 elections. Having the UN at least involved in appointing the Iraqi government would make it more legitimate than if it were solely the appointees of the United States.
In his Friday prayers sermon, the radical young rival of Sistani, Muqtada al-Sadr said, “We ask the nations to pay attention to the people in the elections and not to the Occupation forces. I call upon the Islamic Conference Organization and the Arab League to preside with the UN over elections.”