Friday, March 19, 2010

New Estimate Of Winners And Losers In Iraq’s Election

McClatchy Newspapers’ Inside Iraq Blog has a new estimate of the seat distribution in Iraq’s parliament. So far 89% of the polling stations have had their votes tallied, along with 70% of the special voting that occurred a few days before. The Iraqi Election Commission has still not gone through the ballots cast by the Iraqi security forces or finished with overseas voting either.

After the Election Commission is done, the new parliament will be seated and needs to elect a speaker, his two deputies, and then a president by two-thirds of the legislature, 217 votes out of 325. The president will then tell the bloc with the most votes to come up with a ruling coalition to name a new prime minister. A majority, 163 votes, is necessary to form a new government.

McClatchy’s count covers 285 seats in parliament. 25 contests were too close to calculate, and did not include the 15 seats set aside for minorities and compensation seats that will go to parties that did well nationally, but not in any given province to win.

According to Inside Iraq, Prime Minster Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law list is still in the lead with 85 seats. That’s only two seats more than former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi’s Iraqi National Movement. Coming in third is the Iraqi National Alliance made up of the Supreme Council and the Sadrists with 62 seats, and then the Kurdish Alliance with 37. McClatchy’s estimate is close to previous ones reported here before. With 66% of the vote counted, the Institute for the Study of War had State of Law ahead with up to 79 seats, the National Movement second with up to 70 seats, the National Alliance third with up to 61 seats, and the Kurdish Alliance fourth with 35 seats. With 80% of the vote tabulated, Alsumaria TV had Maliki and Allawi tied with 87 seats each, followed by the National Alliance with 67 seats, and then the Kurdish Alliance with 38 seats. This blog’s count with 80% of the vote was similar with State of Law and the National Movement tied with 90 seats, followed by the National Alliance’s 66, and the Kurdish Alliance’s 39. Reidar Visser of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs was the only one to come up with a slightly different count when two-thirds of the vote had been made public. He had Allawi in first with 90 seats, Maliki second with 88, the National Alliance third with 67, and the Kurdish Alliance fourth with 39.

With the counting almost done and State of Law holding an ever so slim lead, they have already nominated Maliki for a second term as head of state. It’s unknown how hard it will be for him to find partners. Early on it seemed that the National Alliance would support Maliki, and he was trying to woo the Kurds, but now rumors are swirling of Iraq’s neighbors trying to rally support behind Allawi. The Sadrists have also come out ahead of the Supreme Council within the National Alliance, which could complicate talks since Maliki led a crackdown against Sadr’s Mahdi Army in 2008. Some in State of Law have even mentioned dumping Maliki if it came down to it in return for a leading role in the new administration. 

Allawi could find it no easier to become prime minister if Maliki fails. For example, the Kurds will play a crucial role in any new government, but members of the National Movement have demanded that an Arab be president instead of a Kurd, and have warned Allawi to make no concessions on Kirkuk, which will be a major demand of the Kurdish Alliance. That didn’t stop Allawi and Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi from recently traveling to Kurdistan to talk about an alliance.

With State of Law and the National Movement both finishing with roughly 80 seats, it will take another 80 to get a majority in parliament. The only way possible to get that number is to bring on board the other two major lists the Iraqi National Alliance and the Kurdish Alliance, or for State of Law and the National Movement to join together. That latter scenario would seem very unlikely as Maliki and Allawi are both competing to become Iraq’s leader, but anything is possible in Iraqi politics. If the situation becomes deadlocked an outside candidate might even have to be found to replace the two frontrunners.

Projected Seat Distributions In Parliament

McClatchy Newspapers Count – 89% of Votes Counted
State of Law 85 Seats
Iraqi National Movement 82 Seats
Iraqi National Alliance 62 Seats
Kurdish Alliance 37 Seats
Change List 7 Seats
Accordance Front 5 Seats
Unity of Iraq 3 Seats
Kurdish Islamic Group 2 Seats
Kurdish Islamic Union 2 Seats

Alsumaria TV Count – 80% of Votes Counted
State of Law 87 Seats
Iraqi National Movement 87 Seats
Iraqi National Alliance 67 Seats
Kurdish Alliance 38 Seats

Musings On Iraq Count – 80% of Votes Counted
State of Law: 90
Iraqi National Movement: 90
Iraqi National Alliance: 66
Kurdish Alliance: 39
Change List: 8
Accordance Front: 4
Kurdish Islamic Union: 4
Unity of Iraq: 3
Kurdish Islamic Group: 3

Institute for the Study of War Count – 66% of Votes Counted
State of Law 73-79 Seats
Iraqi National Movement 62-70 Seats
Iraqi National Alliance 56-61 Seats
Kurdish Alliance 33-35 Seats
Change List 9-10 Seats
Accordance Front 5-7 Seats
Unity of Iraq 5-6 Seats
Kurdistan Islamic Union 4 Seats
Unity of Iraq 3 Seats

Reidar Visser Count – 66% of Votes Counted
Iraqi National Movement 90 Seats
State of Law 88 Seats
Iraqi National Alliance 67 Seats
Kurdish Alliance 39 Seats
Change List 8 Seats
Accordance Front 4 Seats

SOURCES

AK News, “Law State Coalition nominates al-Maliki for Prime Minister,” 3/18/10

Allam, Hannah and Hammoudi, Laith, “Even if he wins, Maliki may be out as Iraq’s prime minister,” McClatchy Newspapers, 3/18/10

Alsumaria, “IHEC: 80% of votes show Allawi in the lead,” 3/17/10

Fadel, Leila, “Iraqi election accentuates country’s deep divides,” Washington Post, 3/18/10

Institute for the Study of War, “Fact Sheet: Iraq’s Preliminary Elections results,” 3/16/10

McClatchy Newspapers, “Iraq’s Elections Results,” Inside Iraq, 3/18/10

Sowell, Kirk, “Iraq Elections: Maliki’s Path to Re-election,” World Politics Review, 3/16/10

Visser, Reidar, “Baghdad Projects Based on a 60 Percent Count,” Iraq and Gulf Analysis, 3/16/10
- “The Internal Dynamics of the Iraqi National Alliance: The Sadrist Factor,” Iraq and Gulf Analysis, 3/17/10

1 comment:

Jason said...

Now my memory is refreshed. Technically only a majority is needed to form a govt, but only after 2/3 have agreed on a president. IIRC, last time they did not follow that route. The president was part of the overall deal, so in reality it took a 2/3 vote to form a government.

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