Sunni blocs in Diyala seek to reclaim governorship amid political deadlock

Sunni blocs in Diyala seek to reclaim governorship amid political deadlock

Shafaq News / Sunni blocs in Diyala governorate are endeavoring to regain the governorship position lost in 2014, aiming to form a coalition comprising Sovereignty (Al-Siyada), Azm, and Taqadum blocs.

These blocs agreed on Tuesday to boycott provincial council sessions unless a Sunni representative fills the governor position.

Nizar Al-Lahibi, a member of the Taqadum Alliance, told Shafaq News Agency, "The agreement between Sovereignty, Taqadum, and Azm aims to resolve the political dispute in the governorate and expedite the formation of the local government after a three-month delay."

He added, "Sunni blocs are currently discussing nominating a candidate for the position of Diyala governor who enjoys broad acceptability among other blocs."

On the other hand, Salem Al-Tamimi, a Diyala council member from Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq movement, stated, "The agreement announced on Tuesday (to boycott) will exacerbate the crisis of forming the local government and prolong it further, especially as the delay in forming the Diyala government in the past period was not only due to Shiite blocs but also due to the Sunni blocs' disagreement over the governor and the council's presidency and vice-presidency positions."

He emphasized, "Sunnis or Shiites should not monopolize the Diyala government but should be inclusive, representing everyone to meet the citizens' demands and salvage the service situation."

Al-Tamimi pointed out that "the agreement announced yesterday marks an end to the Coordination Framework's decisions and dismantles the Diyala Security and Stability Bloc, consisting of seven members."

Moreover, political analyst Mohammed Al-Iraqi told Shafaq News Agency, "All previous governments in Diyala were formed hastily on sectarian and partisan grounds. What happened yesterday signifies an end to fragmentation and disagreement, paving the way for a solution."

"The Sunni alliance today is the strongest, while the Shiite alliance is fragmented. Therefore, the situation in Diyala requires extensive dialogues to agree on shaping the next local government according to the mandates arising from the elections." He affirmed.

Noteworthy, on Tuesday, Sunni blocs (Taqadum, Al-Siyada, and Azm) in Diyala decided not to participate in any sessions of the Provincial Council unless a governor is selected from their component.

The meeting revealed that the blocs convened to address "the political situation in Diyala governorate, particularly concerning security threats and intimidation targeting members of the Council of Representatives and Diyala Provincial Council."

The Sunni blocs "strongly condemned these actions that aimed at creating discord," emphasizing that "weapons are still outside the state's framework and freely roaming."

Furthermore, they called on the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces (PM Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani) and the security leadership to take necessary measures to "maintain security and social peace" in the governorate.

Diyala's council has repeatedly failed to hold its first session and form a local government since February 5. The roadblock stems from political wrangling over the governor and council chair positions.

The council is divided into two factions. One, comprised of eight members from Shia, Sunni, and Kurdish blocs, seeks to renew the term of former governor Muthanna al-Tamimi. The other, consisting of seven Sunni and Shia members, opposes his reappointment.

On December 18, 2023, Iraq held its first local elections in a decade, spanning fifteen governorates. These elections have substantial implications for local and national politics, given that provincial governments in Iraq play crucial roles in appointing governors, allocating budgets, and planning local infrastructure. However, the provincial councils have long been marred by corruption and nepotism, leading many Iraqi voters to regard these institutions with disdain and frustration.

The forces allied with the Shiite Coordination Framework achieved notable success in the elections, which granted it the authority to appoint governors across various regions; however, the ongoing competition in some governorates, including Diyala and Kirkuk, underscores the complexity of power-sharing dynamics in the country.

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