Electoral news from Iraq

"Preliminary results of the March 7 balloting are due Friday, but the Independent High Electoral Commission has already made it clear it does not intend to conduct a ballot-by-ballot recount. The U.S. Embassy and the United Nations have said that the elections appeared to have been carried out in a credible fashion, with no evidence of widespread fraud.

An analysis of the latest figures by the U.S. military has projected that Maliki's slate will lose the popular vote but win 90 parliamentary seats, compared with 87 seats for the Iraqiya list of his rival Iyad Allawi, a secular Shiite and previous prime minister. Such a narrow outcome would make it difficult for Maliki to cobble together a ruling coalition in parliament, observers say, explaining the unease among Maliki supporters."  LA Times


So, no recount.  That means that there will be several Shia religious blocs in parliament with Maliki's the largest, then Allawi's Sunni and Shia secularists with a large bloc, then the two major Kurdish factions.

It sounds to me that the resulting coalition in parliament will have two or more Shia religious groups at the core with one of the Kurdish "parties" adhering to some degree.  

If this arrangement leaves Allawi's people out in the cold with some of the Kurds, then you can expect that unrest will continue indefinitely in Iraq, probably backed by the Sunni Arab states with money and sanctuary.

Will the level of violence rise to a paralyzing level?  I doubt it.  Will the US withdrawal stop.  No.  pl 


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12 Responses to Electoral news from Iraq

  1. par4 says:

    Will Malaki be forced out to accommodate a new coalition?

  2. R Whitman says:

    Other than the positive step of US withdrawal, can anyone tell me why I should care about this??

  3. Green Zone Cafe says:

    There were demonstrations and meetings across Baghdad and the south the last couple of days demanding a recount. The demonstrations were encouraged by Dawa and ISCI-controlled provincial governments and ministries.
    I don’t understand Maliki’s demands for a recount – he is still in the catbird seat and complaining degrades stability and confidence in the system and his image as a statesman above it all. Maliki can go into a coalition with INA and the Kurds, or make a deal with Allawi for that matter. Maliki can also cherry pick from among the INA and Iraqiyaa parties and split those coalitions up.
    Allawi is more isolated. It’s unlikely his lot of Arab nationalists will appeal to the Kurds, and certainly not to the INA.
    If I were Allawi, I would run to Maliki now and offer my support to him as PM in return for Deputy Prime Minister and a few good sovereign ministries.
    Chalabi and Abdul Mahdi are still trying to stir up trouble and bring down Maliki. Chalabi’s de-Baathification electoral purge stripped Maliki of a lot of votes he might have got that went to Allawi’s coalition. A year ago many Sunni Arabs were expressing very favorable views about Maliki – that evaporated in the electoral purge, which made Maliki look weak and more sectarian.
    Reidar Visser has noted how well the Sadrists have done – the open list gave them a leg up over their ISCI, Fadila, Chalabi and Jaafari coalition partners. It will be interesting to see where the Sadrists end up in all of this.
    I think the new government might look a lot like the present government: a “unity” of dissonant views leading to discordant government. Maybe they’ll create ten more ministries.

  4. Patrick Lang says:

    “INA?” Institute of Naval Archeology? I yearn for the return of secularism to Iraq, but, alas… pl

  5. zanzibar says:

    What’s up with the Sadrists these days? They definitely played a large anti-US role after Bremer decided to nail Moqtada in Najaf.
    I have read that Moqtada is in Iran today. Are they still a significant factor and what are the politics between them and the Iranian exiles – Dawa and ISCI?
    And where does Chalabi fit in all of this?

  6. JM says:

    R Whitman: “Other than the positive step of US withdrawal, can anyone tell me why I should care about this??”
    After 7 years of war, at the very least tens of thousands of deaths, American and Iraqi, and a total (economic) cost of the war in the neighborhood of several trillion dollars — personally, I’m a little curious to see how this particular investment turns out.
    But I suppose that I can understand why you might want to wash your hands of it…

  7. EL says:

    I agree with R. Whitman. And, fortunately, the Obama administration doesn’t have to save Bush and Cheney’s faces by involving us in the building of a Jeffersonian paradise.

  8. EL says:

    Bye the bye, Chalabi will fit himself in where he finds loose cash to scoop up.

  9. Patrick Lang says:

    I don’t know that Jefferson thought to build a “paradise.” He thought that farmers and small businesses would dominate the land. Pigs would still die under the knife and slaves could hope of freedom in his world. pl

  10. Green Zone Cafe says:

    INA – Iraqi National Alliance, the electoral coalition which includes ISCI, the Sadrists, Fadhila, Jaafari’s party, Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress and a few other parties and individuals. It is the most strongly Shia sectarian and most affiliated with Iran.
    Zanzibar, the Sadrists have been quiet lately, other than some representatives making some inflammatory statements during the de-Baathification controversy. There are some groups causing trouble, but it’s hard to tell what their purposes are, they could be directly linked to Iranian Revolutionary Guards and pursuing Iranian objectives by harassing U.S. forces.
    The problem with the Sadrists in forming the new government is that they have never governed competently. Every ministry they took charge of became a disaster, and worse – the Ministry of Health’s facilities became an active sectarian killing zone. So there is some resistance to giving them anything to run.

  11. anna missed says:

    Well I guess its time (again)to roll out my pet conspiracy theory, that Sadr and Maliki have had along running tacit agreement since the ethnic cleansing days. This is of course runs against most of the conventional wisdom, much of which was established with Maliki’s supposed roll up of the Mahdi Army in Basra, Sadr City, and other Sadrist strongholds. But no matter, because the proof, if there is any, will reveal itself when and if the Sadrists suddenly (and to every bodies utter astonishment) get behind Maliki (once again) for PM.
    If this doesn’t happen and the Sadrist’s abandon Maliki for somebody else, I promise never to mention this crazy idea again. Promise.

  12. Green Zone Cafe says:

    Anything is possible in this process. A lot depends on distributing the spoils.
    There seems to be a lot of opposition to Maliki returning, I think because he hurt himself by being in turns high-handed vs. some groups and weak vs. others (the de-Baathifiers).
    But who’s the alternative who could muster the votes of such a diverse group?

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