Monday, June 17, 2013

Iraq Prime Minister Maliki’s State Of Law Fighting Back For Control of Provinces

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law (SOL) was the biggest winner in the 2013 local elections, but things have not worked out the way it planned. It came away with wins in seven provinces, Baghdad, Basra, Babil, Qadisiyah, Dhi Qar, Karbala, and Muthanna. The premier was hoping that this would be a stepping stone to the 2014 parliamentary vote. Things quickly turned against him however, when the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) broke an early deal with State of Law, and aligned with the Sadr Trend’s Liberal bloc to try to shut out him out. Maliki is now fighting back trying to form his own ruling coalitions in several provinces.

Maliki’s list won in Baghdad (8), Basra (18), Babil (11), Qadisiyah (14), Dhi Qar (17), Karbala (14), and Muthanna (16). Since then his list has only been able to form governments in Basra (18), Dhi Qar (17), and Najaf (13). (Wikipedia)

Initially, it looked like State of Law would be shut out of all seven provinces it won, but now it is trying to make a comeback. Basra is Iraq’s third largest province population wise, and contains the majority of its oil wealth. For those reasons, SOL was offering the Supreme Council Najaf, Dhi Qar, and another province in return for the governorship of Basra. Maliki’s list didn’t get the top spot, but it was able to hold onto some power there. State of Law got its governor Khalaf Abdul-Samad elected as the head of the provincial council, after it made a deal with the other major Shiite parties, and some of the minor ones. This was despite the fact that the list split with a few members joining the Sadr-ISCI alliance, who claimed they had a quorum first to form the new government. In Qadisiyah, the first attempt to hold a session of the new provincial council was postponed due to disagreements between the winning lists. Maliki sent his chief of staff Abdul Halim al-Zuhairi there to hold talks to woo parties away from the Sadrists and Supreme Council. Those two split in Dhi Qar, with a few members of the Liberal bloc joining with State of Law. That opened the way for SOL to gain the head of the council there. In Najaf, State of Law got Governor Adnan al-Zurfi of the Najaf First list was re-elected over the objections of ISCI and the Sadrists. Finally, in Diyala, the united Shiite list Diyala’s National Coalition aligned with the Kurdish Brotherhood and Coexistence List to form the new ruling coalition. At the same time, SOL is trying to split the Sadrists from the Supreme Council. Despite these successful and on going negotiations Maliki has faced a major setback in the 2013 voting. He was hoping to come out of the election with majorities across the south and Baghdad. Now he is struggling to just get a fraction of those. That shows that he is not in as strong a position as he thought he was, and that the other Shiite lists are taking advantage of that.

Every national government put together since 2005 has been a national unity one that includes every winning list. While being inclusive, this has also made the government large and unwieldy with both opponents and supporters having to share power. That has frustrated Premier Maliki who would like to have freer reign to rule the country. His list has suffered from being the incumbents this year, not winning as many seats in the new councils as it did in 2009. Not only that, but his heavy handed rule, and the desire of the other Shiite parties to surpass him has led the prime minister to fight for control more than he thought he would have to. That has secured him a few provinces, and he is working on others, but more importantly it shows that he will continue to have to share power. For a developing democracy like Iraq, and given complaints about Maliki’s autocratic tendencies, that might not be the worst thing.


Abdullah Ali, “Citizen coalition and the Liberals on the mechanism of choosing the head of the provincial council in Najaf,” 6/13/13
- “Defection of two members of the state of law and formally joining coalition of Basra First,” Buratha News, 6/9/13
- “Urgent .. the announcement of a new alliance in Najaf includes citizens coalition and Liberals to form local government,” 6/8/13

AIN, “Babel First Alliance announces completing quorum to form Babel local government,” 6/11/13
- “Babel First Political Alliance formed,” 6/10/13
- “Bazoni: Basra governor post granted for Citizen Alliance,” 6/8/13
- “Breaking News….Heated debate among Diwaniya PC members for postponing Saturday session,” 6/15/13
- “Citizen bloc, Ahrar bloc to object nominating Zurfi as Najaf Governor,” 6/13/13
- “Diwaniyah nominates Awadi as its Governor,” 6/9/13
- “Diyala National alliance agrees with KA to form local government of Diyala,” 6/13/13
- “Diyala PC fails in nominating new Governor, PC Chairman,” 6/13/13
- “Member of Diyala New Coalition joins citizen Coalition,” 6/8/13
- “Nasiri nominated as Thi-Qar Governor, Sahlani as its Chairman,” 6/16/13
- “SLC nominates Mosawi to replace Zurfi as Najaf Governor,” 6/9/13
- “Strategic agreement between Citizen Coalition and SLC to form Diwaniya local government,” 5/8/13
- “Urgent…Citizen, Ahrar Coalitions to form “Dhi-Qar Unified Alliance,”” 6/8/13

Alsumaria, “Raad Hamza capacity as Chairman of the Board of Babylon and honest meaning conservative law,” 6/15/13

Buratha News, “Basra coalition chaired the first meeting of the new provincial council next week, and state of law divided against itself in the naming of posts,” 6/7/13
- “Diyala National Alliance announces alliance with Kurdistan and the formation of local government in Diyala through next 72 hours,” 6/13/13
- “Liberal block separates the office manager in Dhi Qar and members of the Provincial Council,” 6/16/13

Al-Mada, “Basra first pulls the rug out from under Maliki’s coalition and achieve the formation of the provincial council majority,” 6/10/13
- “Basra First: We give Maliki a few days to fix errors Abdul Samad,” 6/12/13
- “Blocks Hakim and al-Sadr and the Dawa Party organize indoors ally in Najaf to lead the new government,” 6/8/13
- “Maliki wraps Sadr and Hakim alliance in Dhi Qar, Najaf .. and gets 5 committees of the Government of Wasit,” 6/15/13
- “Maliki’s bloc announces the formation of a coalition (the sons of Dhi Qar) to win the leadership of the provincial council and exclude the Liberals the Citizen’s Alliance,” 6/13/13
- “State of Law approaching loss of the Governments of Basra and Baghdad,” 5/1/13
- “State of Law tempt the Supreme Council granting 3 provinces for the sake of retaining management of Basra,” 5/23/13
-“Tripartite agreement in Babylon, state of law grants the position of governor and deputy head of the provincial council and gives the position of President of the Council to bring together competencies,” 6/9/13

National Iraqi News Agency, “”Basra is First coalition” gets the governor’s position; Badr bloc is seeking the presidency of the Council,” 6/9/13
- “BREAKING NEWS Majid Nasrawi elected Governor of Basra,” 6/12/13
- “Citizen bloc chooses its candidates for the post of governor of Babil,” 6/12/13

Al Rafidayn, “Liberals and the Citizen’s Alliance and Fadhila agree on the formation of local governments in 7 provinces,” 5/12/13

Al Rayy, “Diwaniya, a coalition of seven ten members to form a provincial council,” 6/9/13
- “Liberals decide to separate three of its members, including members of the Council of the province of Dhi Qar,” 6/15/13
- “Rename the governor of Najaf, Adnan al governor of the new cycle,” 6/13/13
- “Talks are continuing between state of law and the citizen’s alliance in Diwaniya to form a government,” 6/14/13

Sadah, Ali Abel, “Iraqi Shiite Political Leaders Opposing Al-Maliki,” Al-Monitor, 5/13/13

Shafaq News, “Hakim’s coalition gains governor position in three provinces,” 5/18/13
- “Najaf Council fails to convene its first session,” 6/9/13

Sotaliraq, “The rule of law in Basra ally of other powers and the number one candidate in the Iraqi approaching them,” 5/2/13

Ur News Agency, “Iraq’s Maliki’s coalition bargaining: Diyala versus Baghdad!” 6/13/13

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