Thursday, February 5, 2009

Early Returns For Provincial Elections

The early results for the January 2009 provincial elections are in. The Iraqi Election Commission claims they have counted 90% of the votes in the fourteen provinces that took part. There are two sets of differing numbers available, one from the New York Times, the other from Alsumaria TV. The numbers from the Times are used below because they seem more comprehensive.

Overall, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law list was the biggest winner. They came in first in eight provinces, Baghdad, Basra, Dhi Qar, Qadisiyah, Maysan, and Najaf, second in Wasit, third in Karbala, fifth in Diyala, and tenth in Salahaddin. The List did not win a majority in any of those governorates however. They did the best in Baghdad with 38% and Basra 37%. That will mean they will have to form coalitions with other parties to rule.

That could be the Sadrists, who lost control of Maysan, but came in second there and in Dhi Qar, Baghdad, and Babil, and third in Najaf and Wasit. Although Maliki launched military campaigns against them in early 2008, they both have a common animosity towards the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC) that once ruled most of the south.

The rest of the Shiite lists had mixed results. The SIIC won no provinces, but finished second in Najaf, Qadisiyah, Basra, Wasit, Muthanna, and Babil, and third in Maysan and Dhi Qar. Former Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari created the Reform Party after he left the Dawa. His best results were third in Qadisiyah, and then several fourth places in the south. Finally, the Fadhila Party lost Basra finishing sixth there. That symbolized their finish across the rest of the country.

There was also the Sunni Iraqi Accordance Front and its major party the Iraqi Islamic Party and the Kurdish Alliance. The Accordance Front came in 1st in Diyala and Salahaddin, third in Anbar, Baghdad and Ninewa, and a surprising fifth in Basra, a largely Shiite province. The Kurdish Alliance lost control of Ninewa but finished a respectable second there, and the same in Diyala. They did much worse in Salahaddin.

A few new parties and independents also emerged. The Iraq National Project, led by independent Sunni parliamentarian Salih al-Mutalk came in first in Anbar, third in Diyala and Salahaddin, fourth in Baghdad, and fifth in Ninewa. Alusi did better than former Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi’s secular Iraqi National List. They did finish second in Salahaddin appealing to the largely Sunni population by criticizing American policies like the deBaathification law and disbanding the armed forces. Otherwise they had a lot of fourth place finishes in provinces like Diyala and Baghdad. Amongst the tribal Awakening groups in Anbar, Sheikh Ahmed Abu Risha’s Awakening and National Independent List finished second, while his former ally now rival Sheikh Amid al-Hayes’ Tribes of Iraq finished a distant seventh. The mayor of Karbala City Yousef Majid al-Haddoubi carried Karbala itself, but with only 13.3% of the vote, while the Iraqi nationalist newcomers al-Hadbaa Party discussed before won in Ninewa, but with 38.4% instead of the 66% predicted by an American official earlier. That will mean they will have to join with their rivals the Kurdish Alliance to run the province. That might force al-Hadbaa to tone down their anti-Kurdish rhetoric or conversely freeze the entire process.

The next several weeks will really show what this election was about. The State of Law and every other List that took first place will have to find other parties to rule because none walked away with a majority of the votes. That could lead to joint governance where no single party will be able to impose their will, intense infighting that will incapacitate the process, or a mixture of both where parties will carve up the provincial offices much like the provinces and the central government are currently run.

The major parties and candidates:

Awakening and National Independents List – Led by Sheikh Ahmed Abu Risha, one of the Anbar Awakening leaders. Aligned with Iraqi Accordance Front
Coalition Of Diyala – Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council’s Diyala List
Constitutional Party – Led by Interior Minister Jawa al-Bulani
Fadhila Party – Formed by Ayatollah Mohammed al-Yacoubi who claimed the legacy of Mohammed Sadeq al-Sadr’s movement, Moqtada al-Sadr’s father, after the U.S. invasion
Yousef Maid al-Habboubi – Independent Shiite mayor of Karbala
Al-Hadbaa Party – Coalition of four parties in Ninewa
Independent Free Movement List – One of two independent lists supported by the Sadrists
Iraq National Project – Led by independent Sunni Parliamentarian Salih Mutalk
Iraqi Accordance Front – Major Sunni list led by Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi’s Iraqi Islamic Party
Iraqi Communist Party – Led by Hamid Majid Mousa
Kurdish Allliance – Made up of two major Kurdish parties, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Kurdish President Massoud Barzani, and other smaller parties
Al-Mihrab Martyr List – Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council List
National Movement for Development and Reform – Led by Jamal al-Karbouli. Made up of former Baathists and insurgents
National Reform Party – Headed by former Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari who broke away from the Dawa Party
State Of Law List – Headed by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Islamic Dawa Party
Tribes Of Iraq – Led by Sheikh Hamid al-Hayes, one of the Anbar Awakening leaders

Iraqi National Project: 17.6%
Awakening and National Independents List: 17.1%
Accordance Front: 15.9%
National Movement for Reform and Development: 7.8%
Iraqi National List: 6.6%
Iraqi Unity: 4.6%
Tribes of Iraq: 4.5%
Group of Scholars And Intellectuals: 3.3%
Justice Movement: 3.2%
National Bloc: 2.3%
Constitutional Party: 2%

State of Law: 12.5%
Al-Mihrab Martyr List: 8.2%
Independent Free Movement List: 6.2%
National Reform Party: 4.4%
Iraqi Commission for NGOs: 4.1%
Independent Justice: 3.7%
Independent Ansar: 3.4%
Iraqi National List: 3.4%
National Unity: 3.3%

State Of Law: 38%
Independent Free Movement List: 9%
Iraqi Accordance Front: 9%
Iraqi National Project: 8.6%
Al-Mihrab Martyr List: 5.4%
National Reform Party: 4.3%
Iraq Nation List: 1.6%
Fadhila: 1.3%
Iraqi Communist Party: 1.2%

State of Law: 37%
Al-Mihrab Martyr List: 11.6%
Gathering of Justice and Unity: 5.5%
Independent Free Movement List: 5%
Iraqi Accordance Front: 3.8%
Fadhila: 3.2%
Iraqi National List: 3.2%
National Reform Party: 2.5%

State of Law: 23.1%
Independent Free Movement List: 14.1%
Al-Mihrab Martyr List: 11.1%
National Reform Party: 7.6%
Fadhila: 6.1%
Constitutional Party: 3.2%
Iraqi National List: 2.8%

Iraqi Accordance Front: 21.1%
Kurdish Alliance: 17.2%
Iraqi National Project: 15%
Iraqi National List: 9.5%
State of Law: 6%
Coalition of Diyala: 5.3%
National Reform Party: 4.3%
Independent Free Movement List: 3.1%
National Movement: 2.6%
Fadhila: 2.3%

Yousef Majid al-Haddoubi: 13.3%
Hope of Rafidain: 8.8%
State of Law: 8.5%
Independent Free Movement List: 6.8%
Al-Mihrab Martyr List: 6.4%
Justice and Reform: 3.6%
National Reform Project: 2.5%
Fadhila: 2.5%

State of Law: 17.7%
Independent Free Movement List: 15.2%
Al-Mihrab Martyr List: 14.6%
National Reform Project: 8.7%
Fadhila: 3.2%

State of Law: 10.9%
Al-Mihrab Martyr List: 9.3%
Jumhouriyoun: 7.1%
National Reform Project: 6.3%
Independent Free Movement List: 5.1%
National List: 5%
Gathering of Muthanna: 4.9%
Academics: 4.4%
Middle Euphrates: 3.9%
Fadhila: 3.7%
Iraqi National List: 3.5%

State of Law: 16.2%
Al-Mihrab Martyr List: 14.8%
Independent Free Movement List: 12.2%
Loyalty to Najaf: 8.3%
National Reform Project: 7%
Union of Independent Najaf: 3.7%
Tribes and Sons of Najaf: 2.6%

Al-Hadbaa: 38.4%
Kurdish Alliance: 25.5%
Iraqi Islamic Party: 6.7%
Turkomen Front: 2.8%
Iraqi National Project: 2.6%
Al-Mihrab Martyr List: 1.9%

State of Law: 23.1%
Al-Mihrab Martyr List: 11.7%
National Reform Project: 8.2%
Iraqi National List: 8%
Independent Free Movement List: 6.7%
Islamic Loyalty: 4.3%
Fadhila: 4.1%
Development of Diwaniya: 3.4%
Iraqi National Congress: 3%

Iraqi Accordance Front: 14.5%
Iraqi National List: 13.9%
Iraqi National Project: 8.7%
Jumuaa: 8.5%
Scholars and Intellectuals: 6.6%
Turkomen Front: 4.8%
Salahaddin List: 4.6%
Taaqi List: 4.5%
Tahrir wa-Binaa: 4.5%
State of Law: 3.5%
Constitution Party: 3.2%
Al-Mihrab Martyr List: 2.9%

State of Law: 15.3%
Al-Mihrab Martyr List: 10%
Independent Free Movement List: 6%
Iraqi National List: 4.6%
Constituion Party: 3.9%
National Reform Party: 3.2%
Independence: 3%

Note: The original version of this article said that the Iraqi National Project that came in first in Anbar was headed by Parliamentarian Mithal al-Alusi. According to Juan Cole at Informed Comment the List is actually led by Saleh al-Mutlaq. The piece has been changed to reflect that.


Abdullah, Muahmmed, “Diyala Sees Early Campaigning,” Niqash, 12/8/08

Agence France Presse, “Iraqi Shiite Factions Face Intimidation Claims,” 2/5/09

Alsumaria, “Iraq provincial elections preliminary results,” 2/5/09

Aswat al-Iraq, “Dawlat al-Qanoon coalition dominates 9 of 14 provinces,” 2/5/09
- “MP accuses Kurds of ‘illegitimate’ campaigning,” 1/24/09
- “URGENT / IHEC announces 90% of election results,” 2/5/09
- “URGENT / PM’s list garners 38% of votes in Baghdad,” 2/5/09

Cole, Juan, "Religious Parties Sweep Shiite South; Sunni Arabs fragmented, mainly Secular," Informed Comment, 2/6/09

Dagher, Sam, “Tribal Rivalries Persist as Iraqis Seek Local Posts,” New York Times, 1/20/09

Daniel, Trenton, “Pro-Iran party loses big in Iraq local elections, returns show,” McClatchy Newspapers, 2/5/09

Farrell, Stephen, “Election: Preliminary Results,” Baghdad Bureau Blog, New York Times, 2/5/09

Hamid, Nirmeen, “anbar’s Islamic party and tribes vie for power,” Niqash, 12/12/08

Al-Jazeera, “Strong poll showing by Iraqi PM,” 2/5/09

Lynch, Marc, “Iraqi Sunnis after the Awakening,” Abu Aardvark Blog, 6/20/08

O’Rourke, Brian, “Prime Minister’s Bloc Wins In Baghdad, Southern Iraq,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 2/5/09

Rubin, Alissa, “Iraqi Prime Minister’s Party Dominates Vote,” New York Times, 2/6/09

Rubin, Alissa and Myers, Steven Lee, “As Iraqis Tally Votes, Former Leader Re-emerges,” New York Times, 2/4/09

UPI, “Maliki’s party tops provincial election,” 2/5/09

Visser, Reidar, “The Candidate Lists Are Out: Basra More Fragmented, Sadrists Pursuing Several Strategies?,”, 12/22/08

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