|Results of Sadrist Referendum|
As noted before, the modus operandi behind the referendum was to stop people from joining the on-going marches, while attempting to co-opt their demands. Sadr wants to maintain his image as the leader of the Iraqi street, so if there are any protests, he wants his people to be at the forefront. At the same time, he is an important part of the new ruling coalition, and wants to use his poll and the threat of a Sadr led-demonstration to gain greater power within the government. Sadr has given Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki a six-month break, but when that time is up the Sadrists may not be able to take advantage of the situation since they control ministries responsible for the delivery of services themselves. They’re likely to blame everything on the premier, but that may not play with the larger population, and could blowback on them as well.
Alsumaria, “Results of Iraq Sadr Front referendum,” 3/18/11
Al-Kadhimi, Bahaa, “Sadrists referendum in Basra: vast majority supports demonstrations,” AK News, 3/17/11