Uia Member Calls For Jaafari To Step

UIA Member Calls for Jaafari to Step Down

A member of the United Iraqi Alliance called publicly Saturday for Ibrahim Jaafari to step down as candidate for prime minister from the coalition. The UIA groups at least 7 Shiite religious parties, and it is being alleged that 4 of them have lost faith in Jaafari.

But Jawad al-Maliki of the Dawa Party (to which Jaafari belongs) said that Jaafari will fight on to the bitter end.

Since Jaafari won the UIA nomination by only one vote, the coalition has all along been divided about him, but earlier closed ranks against Kurdish, US and Sunni Arab pressure. It is not in fact clear that he has lost the backing of the two main branches of the Dawa Party or of the Sadr bloc, which together gave him 56 of the 64 votes by which he won, nor that the other 8 have in fact defected from him.

That members of his own coalition have broken ranks with him this way, however, does much weaken Jaafari. He and his supporters have argued that to reverse the results of a democratic, internal party vote would be undemocratic and a slap in the face of the voters who made the UIA the largest single bloc in parliament.

The US turned against Jaafari when he allied with Muqtada al-Sadr, a young Shiite nationalist cleric, and Washington may also object to his socialist tendencies and his opposition to loose federalism. The Kurdish political leaders have slammed him for wanting a strong central government that might cut back on their privileges, and for opposing the annexation of oil-rich Kirkuk province to the Kurdistan confederacy.

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