Now that Iraq’s Election Commission has announced the final results and seat allocations the winning parties have two weeks to form coalitions to rule. They need 51% of the seats to appoint the governor, deputy governor, head of council, and the provincial police chief. Only in Basra and Ninewa did the victors, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law and the Al-Hadbaa List respectively, gain enough seats to have outright majorities. Three possible set of partners have already been reported. First, Moqtada al-Sadr has told his followers to consult with Maliki’s State of Law. The Awakening of Iraq and Independents has formed an alliance with Saleh al-Mutlaq’s Iraq National Project. Finally, the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council’s Al-Mihrab Martyr List is talking with Iyad Allawi’s Iraqi National List.
If these deals work out Maliki’s list could have majorities in Baghdad, Dhi Qar, Maysan, and Wasit. The Awakening would also rule Anbar. In Karbala, Muthanna, Najaf, and Qadisiyah the State of Law and the Sadrists would have to bring in one more party to rule. Babil, Diyala, and especially Salahaddin are much more fragmented, especially the last one, and will take several parties to come together to run those.
Overall, the elections have revealed three things about the current state of Iraqi politics. First, the Dawa has surpassed the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC) as the predominate Shiite party. Second, the Kurds’ loss of control of Ninewa and Salahaddin shows their declining position within the country. They once had a winning combination with the SIIC, but after both lost in the provincials their hopes of greater federalism is probably dead. The Kurds will be coming under increasing pressure to give up their hopes of annexing territories outside of Kurdistan as a result. Finally, the vote showed that Sunni politics is as fragmented as ever. The Iraqi Islamic Party ran in 2005 despite the Sunni boycott, gaining a head start on their competitors. This time they will have to form coalitions with newer parties to rule in Diyala and Salahaddin, and lost control of Anbar.
Provinces Currently With Majorities
Basra: Maliki’s State of Law 20 of 30 seats
Ninewa: Al-Hadbaa 19 of 37 seats
Possible Ruling Coalitions
Anbar: Sheikh Abu Risha’s Awakening of Iraq and Independents – 8 seats plus parliamentarian Saleh al-Mutlaq’s Iraq National Project – 6 seats. Total of 14 of 29 seats
Baghdad: Maliki’s State of Law – 28 seats plus Sadr’s Independent Trend of the Noble Ones – 5 seats. Total of 33 of 57 seats
Dhi Qar: Maliki’s State of Law – 13 seats plus Sadr’s Independent Trend of the Noble Ones – 7 seats. Total of 20 of 31 seats
Maysan: Maliki’s State of Law – 8 seats plus Sadr’s Independent Trend of the Noble Ones – 7 seats. Total of 15 of 27 seats
Wasit: Maliki’s State of Law – 13 seats plus Sadr’s Independent Trend of the Noble Ones – 3 seats. Total of 20 of 28 seats
Provinces Up In The Air
Babil: State of Law – 8 seats plus Sadr’s Independent Trend of the Noble Ones – 3 seats. Needs five more seats for majority of 16 of 30 seats
Diyala: Iraqi Accordance Front – 9 seats. Needs six more seats for majority of 15 of 29 seats
Karbala: Youssef al-Habboubi – 1 seat plus Maliki’s State of Law – 9 seats plus Sadr’s Independent Trend of the Noble Ones – 4 seats. Needs one more seat for majority of 14 of 27 seats
Muthanna: Maliki’s State of Law – 5 seats plus Sadr’s Independent Trend of the Noble Ones – 2 seats. Needs seven more seats for majority of 14 of 26 seats
Najaf: Maliki’s State of Law – 7 seats plus Sadr’s Independent Trend of the Noble Ones – 6 seats. Needs two more seats for majority of 15 of 28 seats
Qadisiyah: Maliki’s State of Law – 11 seats plus Sadr’s Independent Trend of the Noble Ones – 2 seats. Needs two more seats for majority of 15 of 28 seats
Salahaddin: Iraqi Accordance Front – 5 seats. Needs ten seats for majority of 15 of 28 seats
Agence France Presse, “Sadr renews idea of local alliances with Iraq PM,” 2/20/09
Alsumaria, “Iraq parties form alliances after elections,” 2/13/09
Associated Press, “Iraqi provincial election results,” 2/19/09
Fadel, Leila, “Volatile Anbar province a test of Iraq’s future,” McClatchy Newspapers, 2/17/09
Rubin, Alissa, “Prime Minister’s Party Wins in Iraqi Vote but Will Need to Form Coalitions,” New York Times, 2/6/09
Visser, Reidar, “The Provincial Elections: The Seat Allocation Is Official and the Coalition-Forming Process Begins,” Historiae.org, 2/19/09
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