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Interview: Iraqi VP Adel Abdul Mahdi

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Monitor correspondent Jane Arraf sat down with Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdul Mahdi to discuss his efforts to build a broad political coalition for upcoming national elections, Iraq's security and economic issues, and relations with its neighbors. What follows is a transcript of their interview. (Related story: Iraq's vice president says Iraq should call on US for security help.)

Regarding the coalition you've formed, I understand there are discussions going on to widen it. Can you tell us about that?

There are still discussions with [Ayad] Allawi, with [Nouri] al-Maliki, with other smaller groups. And the fact that such discussions are taking place, especially the formation of a front later on after the coalition - the next step will be to negotiate, to create a ....united national front that will discuss the platform of the coming government, [the composition of] the government itself and try to be well prepared this time. If those people win, then everything will be ready, rather than discussing things later on, which you know last time caused Iraq four months of delaying, forming the government and agreeing on the platform and the program of the government.

It looks as if Prime Minister Maliki is not going to join your coalition, is he?

No, we don't know yet. Some people confirmed that he will, others say that he wouldn't.

If his demand is 51 percent of the representation, is that something you would consider?

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