Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Early Election Results For Iraq’s 2013 Provincial Balloting


Early returns for this year’s truncated provincial elections have been reported, and they show that the country’s political divisions continue. With 71%-96% of the ballots counted in the twelve provinces that cast them, most of Iraq’s major parties maintained their positions. At the same time, more small and independent entities have finished well. They will likely be coopted by the larger ones however. Iraq’s last local elections were held in 2009, and were all about issues and the performance of politicians. 2013’s balloting was more about getting ready for next year’s parliamentary vote.

Election poster for PM Maliki who failed to win the overwhelming victory he was hoping for in the 2013 provincial vote (Niqash)

The 2013 local elections did not fulfill Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s hopes for an overwhelming showing. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law came out in front with eight first place finishes in the twelve provinces that voted. That was a slight loss for the list as it won in nine of those twelve governorates in 2009, and was a larger coalition this year than previously. Not only that but Maliki’s own Dawa Party allegedly fared poorly compared to its allies within the list. Al-Mada for example, reported that in Babil and Karbala former premier Ibrahim Jaffari’s National Reform Party and the Fadhila Party respectively fared better than Dawa. Before the vote, Maliki was talking about winning a majority, which would lead to a majority government at the national level in 2014. State of Law did well, but not that well to fulfill the prime minister’s plans. The main reason for the list’s slight drop off from 2009 was probably the fact that it had been in power for the last four years, and had largely failed to deliver on its promises of better services and governance. It therefore suffered a slight backlash against being the incumbent.

State of Law’s two main competitors in southern Iraq and Baghdad, the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) and the Sadrists did better than in 2009. The ISCI’s Citizen’s Alliance had eight 2nd place and two 3rd place finishes, compared to seven 2nd place finishes in the last vote. The Sadrists won in Maysan, came in second in Karbala, along with five 3rd place and three fourth places finishes. That was better than in 2009, when the best it could do was being the runner-up in Dhi Qar, plus five 3rd place and one fourth place finishes. They were the likely beneficiaries of those that were unhappy with State of Law. The ISCI has been desperately trying to reform its image after the death of its patriarch Abdul Aziz al-Hakim in 2009, and its poor showing in that year’s balloting when it lost control of most of the south and Baghdad. Not only that, but its militia the Badr Organization ran as part of State of Law this year. That showed that the Supreme Council had an even better showing than many expected it to have. Likewise, Moqtada al-Sadr has been trying to transform himself from a militia leader to a politician. He’s mainly been doing that by criticizing Maliki, while at the same time, being his main supporter. That has given the Sadrists the most ministries in the government, which open up huge patronage networks to maintain and expand his following. Like the other parties, both the ISCI and Sadrists will hope to build upon this showing for the 2014 parliamentary voting.

Next, were Iraq’s Sunni parties, who were divided into two main groups. One was Deputy Premier Saleh al-Mutlaq’s Arab Iraqiya. Before the election, he reconciled with the prime minister, who was looking towards Mutlaq to be his future Sunni partner in a new national government. Maliki might have to look elsewhere as his deputy did horribly, only being able to finish first in Diyala as part of a coalition with Speaker of Parliament Osama Nujafi called Iraqiyat Diyala. In 2009, Mutlaq finished second in Diyala, third in Salahaddin, and fifth in Baghdad, showing a tremendous drop off. Speaker Nujafi did much better with a second place finish in Baghdad and Salahaddin, along with the shared victory in Diyala. In 2009, Nujafi was part of his brother’s al-Hadbaa party that only ran in Ninewa. This year, he ran his own list that included al-Hadbaa, Sheikh Ahmed Abu Risha’s Awakening Movement, Rafi Issawi’s National Future Gathering, the Iraqi Islamic Party, and the Iraqi Turkmen Front. He basically replaced the Iraqi Accordance Front as being the main Sunni party in Iraq. Mutlaq on the other hand, has lost much of his constituency.

The last two major parties were Iyad Allawi’s Iraqiya and the Kurdish Brotherhood and Coexistence list. Allawi did as badly as Mutlaq. In the last local elections, Iraqiya finished in the top five in seven out of twelve provinces, which included 2nd place in Salahaddin and 3rd in Qadisiyah. This year, the best it could do was 3rd in Diyala, 4th in Salahaddin in four out of five top five finishes. The Kurdish parties finished third in Diyala in both rounds of balloting. Allawi was the only politician to run across the country, and emphasized a secular agenda. His lack of leadership and constant trips out of the country could account for why he did so badly. The Kurds on the other hand, simply maintained their position as there was little to change their standing amongst their constituency.


Top 5 Finishers 2009 vs 2013 Iraqi Provincial Elections
Babil
2009
2013
1st
State of Law
State of Law
2nd
Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq
Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq
3rd
Sadrists
Iraq Independent Professionals Group
4th
Ibrahim Jaafari’s National Reform Party
Sadrists
5th
Civil Society List
Iraqi Communist Party

Baghdad
2009
2013
1st
State of Law
State of Law
2nd
Tariq Hashemi’s Iraqi Accordance Front
Osama Nujafi’s National Assembly of Iraqis
3rd
Sadrists
Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq
4th
Iraqiya
Sadrists
5th
Saleh Mutlaq’s Iraqi National Project
Iraqiya

Basra
2009
2013
1st
State of Law
State of Law
2nd
Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq
Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq
3rd
Gathering of Justice & Unity
Sadrists
4th
Sadrists
Basra Independent Coalition
5th
Iraqiya
Justice and Unity

Dhi Qar
2009
2013
1st
State of Law
State of Law
2nd
Sadrists
Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq
3rd
Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq
Sadrists
4th
Ibrahim Jaafari’s National Reform Trend
Solidarity in Iraq
5th
Fadhila Party
National Group

Diyala
2009
2013
1st
Tariq Hashemi’s Iraqi Accordance Front
Osama Nujafi & Saleh Mutlaq’s Iraqiyat Diyala
2nd
Saleh Mutlaq’s Iraqi National Project
State of Law, ISCI, Sadr’s Diyala National Coalition
3rd
Kurdish Alliance
Iraqiya
4th
Iraqiya
Kurdish Alliance
5th
State of Law
We Are Decisive

Karbala
2009
2013
1st
Youssef Majid al-Habboubi
State of Law
2nd
Hope of Rafidain
Sadrists
3rd
State of Law
Youssef Majid al-Habboubi
4th
Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq
Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq
5th
Sadrists
Hope of Rafidain

Maysan
2009
2013
1st
State of Law
Sadrists
2nd
Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq
State of Law
3rd
Sadrists
Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq
4th
Ibrahim Jaafari’s National Reform Party
Integrity and Efficiency
5th

National Partnership Gathering

Muthanna
2009
2013
1st
State of Law
State of Law
2nd
Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq
Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq
3rd
People’s List
Sadrists
3rd
Ibrahim Jaafari’s National Reform Party
Iraq Independent Professionals Group
5th
Sadrists
Muthanna Community

Najaf
2009
2013
1st
State of Law
Loyalty to Najaf
2nd
Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq
Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq
3rd
Sadrists
State of Law
4th
Loyalty to Najaf
Sadrists
5th
Ibrahim Jaafari’s National Reform Party
Just State

Qadisiyah
2009
2013
1st
State of Law
State of Law
2nd
Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq
Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq
3rd
Iraqiya
Sadrists
4th
Ibrahim Jaafari’s National Reform Party
Alliance of Independent People of Diwaniya
5th
Sadrists
White Iraqiya

Salahaddin
2009
2013
1st
Tariq Hashemi’s Iraqi Accordance Front
Alliance of Iraqi People
2nd
Iraqiya
Osama Nujafi’s National Assembly of Iraqis
3rd
Saleh Mutlaq’s Iraq National Project
Dignity Alliance of Iraq
4th
National Project of Iraq
Iraqiya
5th
Group of Intellectuals and Scientists
State of Law, ISCI, Sadr’s National Coalition in Salahaddin

Wasit
2009
2013
1st
State of Law
State of Law
2nd
Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq
Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq
3rd
Sadrists
Sadrists
4th
Iraqiya
Fidelity
5th
Iraqi Constitutional Party
State of Social Justice

Comparison of Winners in 12 Of Iraq’s Provinces 2009-2013
List
2009
2013
PM Maliki’s State of Law
1st Place: Babil, Baghdad, Basra, Dhi Qar, Maysan, Muthanna, Najaf, Qadisiyah, Wasit (9 Total)
1st Place: Babil, Baghdad, Basra, Dhi Qar, Karbala, Muthanna, Qadisiyah, Wasit (8 Total)

-
2nd Place: Diyala – Diyala National Coalition, Maysan (2 Total)

3rd Place: Karbala (1 Total)
3rd Place: Najaf (1 Total)

-
-

5th Place: Diyala (1 Total)
5th Place: Salahaddin – National Coalition in Salahaddin (1 Total)
Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq
2nd Place: Babil, Basra, Maysan, Muthanna, Najaf, Qadisiyah, Wasit (7 Total)
2nd Place Babil, Basra, Dhi Qar, Diyala – Diyala National Coalition, Muthanna, Najaf, Qadisiyah, Wasit (8 Total)

-
3rd Place: Baghdad, Maysan (2 Total)

4th Place: Karbala (1 Total)
4th Place: Karbala (1 Total)

-
5th Place: Salahaddin – National Coalition in Salahaddin (1 Total)
Sadrists
-
1st Place: Maysan (1 Total)

2nd Place: Dhi Qar (1 Total)
2nd Place: Diyala – Diyala National Coalition, Karbala (2 Total)

3rd Place: Babil, Baghdad, Maysan Najaf ,Wasit (5 Total)
3rd Place: Basra, Dhi Qar, Muthanna, Qadisiyah, Wasit (5 Total)

4th Place: Basra (1 Total)
4th Place: Babil, Baghdad, Najaf (3 Total)

5th Place: Karbala, Muthanna, Qadisiyah (3 Total)
5th Place: Salahaddin – National Coalition in Salahaddin (1 Total)
Deputy PM Mutlaq’s Iraqi National Project/Arab Iraqiya
-
1st Place: Diyala – Iraqiyat Diyala (1 Total)

2nd Place: Diyala (1 Total)
-

3rd Place: Salahaddin (1 Total)
-

-
-

5th Place: Baghdad (1 Total)
-
Speaker Nujafi’s National Assembly of Iraqis
NA
1st Place: Diyala – Iraqiyat Diyala (1 Total)

NA
2nd Place: Baghdad, Salahaddin (2 Total)
Iraqiya
2nd Place: Salahaddin (1 Total)
-

3rd Place: Qadisiyah (1 Total)
3rd Place: Diyala (1 Total)

4th Place: Baghdad, Diyala, Wasit (3 Total)
4th Place: Salahaddin (1 Total)

5th Place: Basra (1 Total)
5th Place: Baghdad (1 Total)
Kurds
3rd Place: Diyala (1 Total)
3rd Place: Diyala (1 Total)
Independents
Civil Society List – 5th Place: Babil
Alliance of Independent People of Diwaniya – 4th Place: Qadisiyah

Gathering of Justice & Unity – 3rd Place: Basra
Alliance of Iraqi People – 1st Place: Salahaddin

Group of Intellectuals and Scientists – 5th Place: Salahaddin
Basra Independent Coalition – 4th Place: Basra

Hope of Rafidain – 2nd Place: Karbala
Dignity Alliance of Iraq – 3rd Place: Salahaddin

Iraqi Constitutional Party – 5th Place: Wasit
Fidelity – 4th Place: Wasit

Loyalty to Najaf – 4th Place: Najaf
Hope of Rafidain – 5th Place: Karbala

National Project of Iraq – 4th Place: Salahaddin
Integrity and Efficiency – 4th Place: Maysan

People’s List – 3rd Place: Muthanna
Iraq Independent Professionals Group – 3rd Place: Babil, Muthanna

Youssef Majid al-Habboubi – 1st Place: Karbala
Iraqi Communist Party - 5th Place: Babil


Just State – 5th Place: Najaf


Justice and Unity - 5th Place: Basra


Loyalty to Najaf – 1st Place: Najaf


Muthanna Community – 5th Place: Muthanna


National Group - 5th Place: Dhi Qar


National Partnership Gathering – 5th Place: Maysan


Solidarity in Iraq - 4th Place: Dhi Qar


State of Social Justice – 5th Place: Wasit


We Are Decisive - 5th Place: Diyala


White Iraqiya – 5th Place: Qadisiyah


Youssef Majid al-Habboubi – 3rd Place: Karbala

One of the main changes between 2009 and 2013 was the number of entities running, and how they did. In 2009, 427 individuals and parties ran compared to 265 in 2013. That showed a large amount of consolidation amongst Iraq’s political class. At the same time, more independent parties finished in the top five this year than in 2009. In that year, nine parties finished at the top compared to twenty in 2013. In 2009, some of the best showings were by Youssef Majid al-Habboubi who won in Karbala, and the Hope of Rafidain that got second place in that province. This year, Salahaddin Governor Ahmed Abdullah’s Alliance of Iraqi People won in that province, while Loyalty to Najaf won there, and Habboubi came in third in Karbala. These were all examples of smaller parties stressing local issues. On the other hand, many are going to be co-opted by the larger ones when new ruling coalitions are put together in each governorate. That shows at the provincial level there are some parties that are attempting to address the problems of the districts and cities. However, they do not have the power yet to govern on their own, and have to fall in line behind the larger national lists.

Iraq’s 2013 provincial elections simply reflected the current state of Iraq’s divided politics. Maliki maintained the dominant position as he runs both the central government, and many of the local governorates in southern and central Iraq. That gives him plenty of opportunities to dish out patronage and favors to his followers. At the same time, there are other parties like the Supreme Council and Sadrists that are competing for the same group of voters, and they have been able to make slight advances. Speaker Nujafi and Deputy PM Mutlaq are competing for the Sunni vote, but only the former still has a large base. The Speaker, along with the Kurdish parties and Iyad Allawi are the main critics of Prime Minister Maliki, but they have not been able to make any large gains with the electorate, and Allawi has actually lost much of his constituency. This all showed that the balloting simply maintained the current status quo with Maliki relying upon the prime minister at the top, but his rivals and opponents unable to unseat him. Unless something drastic happens, this will be how the next parliamentary balloting takes place, meaning there will be no resolution to Iraq’s current political deadlock.

SOURCES

Ali, Ahmed, “Iraq’s Provincial Elections and their National Implications,” Institute for the Study of War, 4/19/13

Al-Ali, Daoud, “Iraqi PM al-maliki: ‘I will win a third term,’” Niqash, 4/4/13

Center for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies, “2013 Iraqi Local Election Results,” 4/26/13

Al-Mada, “Prime Minister loses seats in “their own home” .. and the sounds of his coalition in Kerbala brought him Virtue,” 4/24/13

3 comments:

bb said...

Good round up. Also worth mentioning
is that this was the 6th time Iraqis have gone to the polls since the beginning of 2005 - electing national parliament 3 times and provincial councils (3 times) Next year will be the 7th in 9 years when the national poll is conducted. All these polls have been run by the IHEC and conducted on universal franchise and strict proportional representation. As a result all governments formed are coalitions representing the national polity on the EU model. As such this has served to build a political infrastructure that has so far stood the test of time. The reported 78% turnout this time is testament to that.

The key principles underpinning this infrastructure dates back to the transitional Law negotiated by the Iraq Governing Council back in early 2004, facilitated by Bush's envoy, Paul Bremer. According to Rajiv Chandrasekaran in his book "Imperial Life in the Emerald City" Bremer issued only one ultimatum: he would veto sharia law being the sole source of legislation. The Law was finally hammered out at a marathon meeting of the IGC while Bremer took a back seat. "CPA staffers joked among themselves that they had never seen Bremer sit so quietly for so long" Adel Abdel Mahdi is quoted as saying the TAL was a turning point: "it was when Bremer stopped acting like a dictator." Ref: pages 268-272.

The Iraqis carried out 3 of these elections plus the constitutional referendum in the face of a raging insurgency, becoming the first Arab democracy in the Middle East. Within a few months of the first post-occupation election at the end of 2010, the Arab Spring erupted and the peoples of Tunisia, Egypt ad then Libya poured onto the streets demanding democracy themselves. Those countries became the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Arab countries raising purple fingers to become democracies after Iraq - all of them now with coalition governments elected on forms of proportional representation. These are infant democracries, Iraq is but a toddler; but brave democracies they are.

Though all this might have cracked a mention here in the postings on the 10th anniversary, but no such luck. Disappointing to see you join the groupthink, since you have to be one of the most informed US commentators on the subject of Iraq since the war and the only westerner even, except for Reidar, who has taken a continuing interest.

Joel Wing said...

bb,

couple comments.

1st turnout was 51% so far, which was the same as the 2009 vote, not 78%.

2nd if you read Larry Diamond who happened to be one of the people who wrote the TAL it gives you a much different version than Chandrasekaran. The document was basically drafted along western lines by a few people like Diamond, Feisal Istrabadi and Salem Chalabi. When parts were leaked the IGC and then finally presented to it they argued over certain points, but most of it was presented as a fait accompli.

Finally, Iraq is a young democracy, but it is not showing the kind of progress I was hoping for. At its best, Iraqi leaders have always been able to go to the brink and then negotiate deals. That is becoming harder and harder to come by. Not only that the basic lack of rule of law and the undermining of institutions rather than building them up of them does not bode well for the future.

Joel Wing said...

P.S. example of problems with Iraq. At international conference on constitutions in the Middle East the main lesson Iraqis try to tell other Arab states is don't be like Iraq and rush your constitution.

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