Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Iraq Prime Minister Maliki’s State Of Law Being Shut Out Of New Provincial Governments

Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was hoping that the 2013 provincial elections would pave the way towards him forming a majority government after next year’s parliamentary balloting. Instead, his State of Law list not only lost seats, but its plan to maintain control of southern Iraq and Baghdad is falling apart. At first, State of Law had an agreement with the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) to create ruling coalitions in seven of the twelve provinces that voted in April, but that alliance quickly fell apart. Now ISCI has found a new partner with the Sadrists and they are looking to control seven governorates, shutting out State of Law in the process. This is a dramatic turn of events, and a huge disappointment for the premier who was looking to solidify his hold upon the country.
Hakim (left) and Sadr (right) have formed ruling coalitions in seven provinces including Baghdad that exclude Maliki's State of Law list following the April 2013 provincial elections (Al-Mada)

State of Law was the biggest winner in the 2013 balloting, but its plans to hold onto power have been spoiled. Maliki’s list won in Babil, Baghdad, Basra, Dhi Qar, Karbala, Muthanna, Qadisiyah, and Wasit. Immediately afterward it announced that it had carried out talks with the Supreme Council, and together they would be forming majority governments in those seven governorates. The two could not agree however, and ISCI quickly shifted to a new alliance with the Sadrists, who had been courting them as well since early May. Since then they have gone on to form majority coalitions in the seven provinces that Maliki’s list won. In Baghdad, the two Shiite parties made a deal with Speaker Osama Nujafi’s Mutahidun, with the Sadrists getting the governorship, Mutahidun the head of the council, and ISCI receiving the first deputy council head. In Basra, State of Law fractured with two members defecting over disputes over who would be governor, and joined the ISCI-Sadrist Basra First Coalition. The Badr Organization also jumped ship from Maliki’s list, and was in negotiations with Basra First as well. Ironically, State of Law was talking about forming majority governments after the 2013 balloting. The Supreme Council seemed to want to be more inclusive, and have more lists join in the new local councils. The result was that ISCI went with the Sadrists instead, and created coalitions that excluded Maliki’s party. There was also a bit of political payback involved, because in 2009, the premier’s list shut out ISCI from most of the new governing councils after it had ruled them since 2005.

Prime Minister Maliki’s political plans have faced a major setback after this year’s election. The premier was hoping that not only would he maintain his position in the southern and central provinces, but gain more seats, so that he would not have to rule with so many other parties. This was part of his larger strategy to create a majority national government, which would give him greater leeway passing laws and ruling the country. Now all that is threatened after his erstwhile allies the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq and the Sadrists have joined together, and taken over the south and Baghdad at Maliki’s expense. Both have worked with State of Law in the past, but would like to supersede it as the dominant Shiite party in Iraq. They are not there yet, but they have learned that Maliki has chinks in his armor that they can take advantage of.


Abdullah, Ali, “Defection of two members of the state of law and formally joining coalition of Basra First,” Buratha News, 6/9/13
- “Urgent .. the announcement of a new alliance in Najaf includes citizens coalition and Liberals to form local government,” 6/8/13

Ahmed, Leila, “Race continues to form alliance of local government in Baghdad,” Radio Free Iraq, 6/9/13

AIN, “Ahrar bloc granted post of Baghdad Governor,” 6/8/13
- “Ahrar-Citizen coalitions’ new alliance to ensure success of new PCs, says Sadrist MP,” 6/8/13
- “Babel First Political Alliance formed,” 6/10/13
- “Bazoni: Basra governor post granted for Citizen Alliance,” 6/8/13
- “Diwaniyah nominates Awadi as its Governor,” 6/9/13
- “Future Wasit Alliance announced Saturday,” 6/8/13
- “New political alliance to form local government in Wasit,” 6/3/13
- “SLC nominates Mosawi to replace Zurfi as Najaf Governor,” 6/9/13
- “SLC welcomes forming Baghdad new PC according to political majority,” 6/8/13
- “Strategic agreement between Citizen Coalition and SLC to form Diwaniya local government,” 5/8/13
- “Urgent…Citizen, Ahrar Coalitions to form “Dhi-Qar Unified Alliance,”” 6/8/13
- “Urgent….SLC, Citizen Coalition break up their alliance regarding Provincial Governments,” 6/6/13

Buratha News, “Basra coalition chaired the first meeting of the new provincial council next week, and state of law divided against itself in the naming of posts,” 6/7/13
- “Diwaniya: the position of the leader of a coalition of conservative fans Diwaniyah and the presidency of the Council for Citizens Coalition,” 6/9/13

Al-Mada, “Basra first pulls the rug out from under Maliki’s coalition and achieve the formation of the provincial council majority,” 6/10/13
- “Maysan, Salahuddin keep on Lazem .. Samad assisted tribes to get a second term,” 6/8/13
- “State of Law approaching loss of the Governments of Basra and Baghdad,” 5/1/13
- “State of Law tempt the Supreme Council granting 3 provinces for the sake of retaining management of Basra,” 5/23/13
- “Tripartite agreement in Babylon, state of law grants the position of governor and deputy head of the provincial council and gives the position of President of the Council to bring together competencies,” 6/9/13

National Iraqi News Agency, “”Basra is First coalition” gets the governor’s position; Badr bloc is seeking the presidency of the Council,” 6/9/13
- “Sadr and Hakim discuss, in Najaf, the strategic partnership,” 5/8/13
- “Seven provinces shared between Ahrar and Citizen bloc to form the local government there,” 6/11/13

Radio Nawa, “Liberals and citizens agree on the formation of a coalition of local governments shall be managed,” 6/7/13

Al Rafidayn, “Liberals and the Citizen’s Alliance and Fadhila agree on the formation of local governments in 7 provinces,” 5/12/13
- “State of Law: “We will form alliance in 9 local governments with the citizens’ block,” 5/8/13

Shafaq News, “Hakim’s coalition gains governor position in three provinces,” 5/18/13
- “Najaf Council fails to convene its first session,” 6/9/13

Sotaliraq, “The rule of law in Basra ally of other powers and the number one candidate in the Iraqi approaching them,” 5/2/13

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