Monday, June 28, 2010

Iraq’s Shiite Parties Still No Closer To Forming New Government

Prime Minister Maliki and Former Premier Allawi Unite And Divide The Shiite Parties

Iraq’s two main Shiite parties, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law and the Sadrist-Supreme Council led Iraqi National Alliance have joined together into the National Alliance coalition, but they are no closer to forming a government now than in March when the elections were originally held. The problem is only one thing unites them, opposition to Iyad Allawi becoming prime minister again, while Maliki remaining in power is what divides them.

The Shiite lists are determined to hold onto the premiership, which is why they are against Iyad Allawi. In June Allawi and Maliki finally met, three months after the elections, but nothing came of it despite the two having many ideological similarities about nationalism and the power of the central government. The meeting turned out to be nothing more than a photo opportunity, and Maliki even allegedly told Allawi that he had no chance to become prime minister again. A member of Allawi’s Iraqi National Movement later said that its attempt to merge with State of Law was blocked by the National Alliance and the Kurds.

The Shiite coalition itself however, remains weak and divided over who should be the next prime minister. Maliki is determined to hold onto his office, but is opposed by both the Sadrists and the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC). The two are pushing the negotiations with State of Law to the limit as a result. They demanded a Wise Men committee to determine the coalition’s candidate, but that has now been dropped. The National Alliance then asked that there be limits placed on the prime minister’s power through three deputy prime ministers or advisers from each party to the premier. Maliki agreed to those provisions, but that led nowhere. That leaves SIIC head Ammar Hakim’s calls for a round table of all the major parties in the new parliament to form a new government, or for the coalition to come up with several candidates which the legislature would then vote on. Both ideas are currently being rejected by State of Law. Not only that, but the Sadrists and Supreme Council can’t agree on their own nominees either. The Sadrists support former Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, while the SIIC is nominating Vice President Adel Abdul Mahdi, who Sadr opposes. The result of all these disputes is extreme deadlock until Maliki is outmaneuvered or gives up his post. The National Alliance though, believes that it is gaining the upper hand. They think that the continued terrorist attacks and the protests over the lack of electricity are weakening Maliki.

There are in fact continuing rumors that State of Law is either going to give up on Maliki or that he will step aside if his demands are met. For example, Kuwaiti newspapers reported that Maliki’s list has come up with some alternative candidates. Those are Habib al-Sadr, the former director of the government-run Iraqi Media Network, Ali Dabbagh, Maliki’s spokesman, Khudayr al-Khuzai, the Minister of Education, and Sharwan al-Waili, the Minister for National Security. State of Law still publicly maintains that they have no other candidate besides Maliki. Asharq Al-Awsat ran a story that claimed Maliki was willing to step down if he, his family, and his Dawa Party were given immunity from any investigations or criminal cases. Maliki’s son for example is the head of the government procurement office, and has amassed a large fortune, and various properties in foreign countries while in office. The National Alliance has allegedly rejected this offer.

The Shiite coalition has successfully isolated Allawi, but is divided itself. State of Law and the National Alliance are only a few seats shy of the 163 needed to form a government. Together they have shut out Allawi’s National Movement from gaining new allies to put together its own ruling coalition. The issue of who the Shiite parties will nominate for prime minister, remains the main sticking point. The National Alliance has made demand after demand of State of Law, some of which Maliki has agreed to, some he has not, but the two sides are no closer to coming up with the next premier. In fact, these talks are just meant to wear Maliki down, and split him from his list so that they eventually drop him. Even if the National Alliance were successful at that, the divisions within that list don’t point to a breakthrough happening soon afterward. Iraqi politics are thus at a standstill, just as it has been at since March. 

SOURCES

AK News, “ISCI leader stresses round table talks best way to agree on forming govt,” 6/23/10

Asharq Al-Awsat, “Coalition leaders al-Hakim told: Propagation condition of the waiver al-Maliki not to sue,” 6/25/10

Druzin, Heath, “Talks Fail Between Leading Iraqi Parties,” Stars and Stripes, 6/23/10

Al-Jasim, Huda, “Iraq: Major Disputes within the National Alliance,” Asharq Alawsat, 6/16/10

MEMRI Staff, “Divisions among Shi’a Could Prolong Discussion to Form a New Government,” MEMRI Blog, 6/25/10

Al-Rafidayn, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, “Iraqi PM Al-Maliki Opens Verbal Fire In All Directions,” MEMRI Blog, 6/22/10

Roads To Iraq, “Allawi, Maliki and the political message of the meeting,” 6/13/10
- “The revolution of electricity in the southern provinces topples the Minister, eyes on Maliki, while new names of candidates emerged,” 6/22/10

Al-Salhy, Suadad, “Iraq’s Shi’ite-led groups edge closer to government,” Reuters, 6/16/10

Asharq Al-Awsat, “Coalition leaders al-Hakim told: Propagation condition of the waiver al-Maliki not to sue,” 6/25/10

Al-Sharq al-Awsat, “Al-Hakim: No Agreement On Horizon With Al-Maliki Over Premiership,” MEMRI Blog, 6/11/10

Wasat online, “Iranian Officials Expressed Reservations About Allawi Becoming Prime Minister,” MEMRI Blog, 6/23/10

16 comments:

Jason said...

Are there any limitations on Maliki's powers as PM during this period, or can he carry on as usual indefinitely.

Joel Wing said...

He and the parliament are suppose to be the caretaker government, basically maintain the status quo and don't pass any legislation, but this is Iraq. The government is going on as normal announcing new plans, etc. even though all of them are out (at least from their current positions) when the new prime minister is announced.

Maury said...

The sad thing is, Maliki and Allawi could put together a government without the other parties, but each insists on being PM. Together, they could get a lot done. Passing legislation would be a snap. The coalition wouldn't require Kurdish parties, so Kirkuk and other Kurdish issues could finally be settled. Muqwaq would spend another 4 years in political exile. Iraq could see some real progress. If only.....

Maury said...

Erbil, June 29 (AKnews) - A member of Kurdish Factions Alliance (KFA) declared today that in case al-Iraqiya merges with the State of Law, Kurds will be marginalized as the heads of the two blocs will assume the two senior positions in the Iraqi government.

http://www.aknews.com/en/aknews/4/159542/

What it would do is end the gridlock imo.

Joel Wing said...

Maury said: "Maliki and Allawi could put together a government without the other parties"

This is the scenario many in the west and Arab governments would like to see. The two are suppose to meet shortly and there are a round of rumors that they will join together. See the story Maury just posted and: http://iraqthemodel.blogspot.com/2010/06/allawi-maliki-deal-imminent.html

I'm skeptical to say the least. The Shiites and Kurds want to maintain the status quo and hold onto power. Allawi returning to be premier would shake that up. Also there are some who think he or his party are Baathists, and others that see his party as sectarian, i.e. the Sunni party, despite it being the most secular and nationalist.

The only way I see Maliki and Allawi coming together is out of desperation by Maliki because the other Shiite parties will not let him stay in office so he turns on them and goes towards the National Movement.

Dolly said...

Wow this is very exciting. Which CIA stooge is going to be the next puppet governor of Iraq? We must not go to sleep until this crucial matter is settled

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Joel Wing -- Do know where I can find the full IECI election results from Iraq's January and December 2005 elections? I would greatly appreciate any help you can provide. I suspect they may have been published in Arabic and are much harder to locate now that IHEC replaced IECI. Thank you! -- Josh

Joel Wing said...

Josh,

Many of the original sources that were on-line for the 2005 elections are no longer up on the internet. There are a couple newer sources however that break down the results.

Heres a link to an interactive map from the Wall Street Journal that has the Dec. 05 results by list and province compared to the 2010 vote:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703457104575121934029358828.html#articleTabs%3Dinteractive

This has the general seat counts for both 2005 elections: Katzman, Kenneth, “Iraq: Politics, Elections, and Benchmarks,” Congressional Research Service

www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RS21968.pdf

This has a breakdown of the 2005 provincial elections: Knights, Michael and McCarthy, Eamon, “Provincial Politics in Iraq: Fragmentation or New Awakening?” Washington Institute for Near East Policy, April 2008

http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC04.php?CID=289

Hope this helps.

Joel Wing said...

You can see a breakdown of the 2009 provincial elections here as well:

http://musingsoniraq.blogspot.com/2009/02/comparing-january-2009-to-january-2005.html

The Jan. 05 parliamentary elections:

UIA 140
Kurdish Alliance 75
Iraqi List – Allawi 40
Iraqi Islamic Party 0
Kurdistan Islamic Group 2
Iraqis Party (Yaware – Sunni) 5
Iraqi Turkmen Front (Kirkuk based) 3
National Independent and Elites (Sadr) 3
People’s Union (Communist) 2
Islamic Action (Shiite Islamist, Karbala) 1
Rafidain National List (Assyrian Christian) 1

Dec. 05 parliamentary vote:

UIA 128 (Fadhila 15, Sadrists 28, SIIC 30, Dawa 12, Anizi Faction 13,
Independents 30
Kurdistan Alliance 53
Iraqi List – Allawi 25
Accordance Front 44 (Islamic Party 26, National Dialogue Council 7, General
People’s Congress 7, independents 4)
Iraqi National Dialogue Front – Selah al-Mutlaq 11
Kurdistan Islamic Group 5
Iraqi National Congress 0
Iraqi Turkmen Front (Kirkuk) 1
Resalyoon (Sadr) 2
Islamic Action (Shiite Islamists Karbala) 0
Rafidain National List (Assyrian Christian) 1
National Reconciliation and Liberation Bloc– Mashaan al-Jabouri, Sunni, secular 3
Ummah Party/Iraqi Nation (Mithal al-Alusi – former INC) 1
Yazidi List 1

Dec. 05 vote by province:

Dohuk
Kurdistan Gathering – 7
Kurdistan Islamic Union – 1

Irbil
Kurdistan Gathering – 12
Kurdistan Islamic Union – 1

Sulaymaniya
Kurdistan Gathering – 13
Kurdistan Islamic Union – 2

Ninewa
Iraqi Accordance Front – 7
Kurdistan Gathering – 4
National Iraqi List – 2
Iraqi National Dialogue Front – 2
United Iraqi Alliance – 2
Liberation and Reconciliation Gathering – 1
Yazidi Movement for Reform and Progress – 1

Tamim
Kurdish Gathering – 5
Iraqi National Dialogue Front – 1
Iraqi Turkmen Front – 1
Iraqi Accordance Front – 1
Liberation and Reconciliation Gathering – 1

Salahaddin
Iraqi Accordance Front – 3
Iraqi National Dialogue Front – 2
Iraqi National List – 1
Liberation and Reconciliation Gathering – 1
United Iraqi Alliance – 1

Diyala
Iraqi Accordance Front – 4
United Iraqi Alliance – 2
Kurdistan Gathering – 2
Iraqi National List – 1
Iraqi National Dialogue Front – 1

Anbar
Iraqi Accordance Front – 7
Iraqi National Dialogue Front – 2

Baghdad
United Iraqi Alliance – 34
Iraqi Accordance Front – 13
Iraqi National List – 8
Iraqi National Dialogue Front – 1
Resalyoon– 1
Kurdistan Gathering – 1
Mithal al Alusi List for Iraqi Nation – 1

Karbala
United Iraqi Alliance – 5
Iraqi National List – 1

Babil
United Iraqi Alliance – 9
Iraqi National List – 1
Iraqi Accordance Front – 1

Wasit
United Iraqi Alliance – 7
Iraqi National List – 1

Maysan
United Iraqi Alliance – 6
Iraqi National List – 1

Qadisiyah
United Iraqi Alliance – 7
Iraqi National List – 1

Najaf
United Iraqi Alliance – 7
Iraqi National List – 1

Muthanna
United Iraqi Alliance – 5

Dhi Qar
United Iraqi Alliance – 11
Iraqi National List – 1

Basra
United Iraqi Alliance – 13
Iraqi National List – 2
Iraqi Accordance Front – 1

Unknown said...

Thank you Joel!

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mobile prices in Pakistan said...

Are the both parties are going to partispate in the next election in Iraq ?
they do a great partispation in the national development ....

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Mobile Prices In Pakistan said...

Are there any limitations on Maliki's powers as PM during this period, or can he carry on as usual indefinitely.

Joel Wing said...

Mobile, in the current status quo there are implicit limits on what Maliki can do to other major political parties. For instance, he just told the Kurds to take down their flags in a district of Diyala province, but he knew they wouldn't listen to him and it's just all for show. On the other hand, the parliament, the courts, and independent commissions do not really provide any checks upon the prime minister. So Maliki does have a great amount of freedom to do what he wants.

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