Iraqi political sources said that a “secret political agreement” was likely to speed up the adoption of the Iraqi budget next week.
According to the sources, Head of the State of Law Coalition Nuri al-Maliki highlighted technical and political issues in his address to the Coordination Framework regarding the budget, which have stalled the legislation process and sparked a dispute with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).
Parliament’s Finance Committee had made surprise amendments on the draft budget late last month. Those included three items pertaining to the share of the Kurdistan region from oil and the export mechanism from its territory.
Parliament was preparing to hold a session to vote on the budget, last Saturday, according to its speaker, Mohammad al-Halbousi. But the new amendments renewed negotiations on the draft law.
The sources said that the former prime minister objected to the mechanisms for disbursing funds to the Kurdistan region, and expressed reservations over items, which he said could shake the power equation within the State Administration coalition, which includes, in addition to the coordination framework, Sunni and Kurdish forces.
In this context, the sources stressed that the controversy over the share of the Kurdistan region and the oil export mechanism has turned the agreement between the governments of Baghdad and Erbil into an understanding with explicit guarantees between the KDP and Al-Maliki.
The Kurds’ demands to restore the old version of the budget will be settled by a secret political agreement, with minor amendments that do not anger the leaders of the Coordination Framework, according to the sources.
A leader in the State Administration coalition expects that the vote on the country's general budget will be decided this week, as political actors are now convinced that the secret settlement is the only solution that the Framework can offer to its partners in the government.