Iraq’s Supreme Court ruled that two-thirds of the parliament’s recent amendment to the election law were constitutional. That included saying that a manual recount of the ballots and replacing the Election Commission with judges were good, but cancelling overseas and displaced votes was not. On June 6, parliament changed the election law due to widespread complaints over voting fraud and poor conduct by the Election Commission. The recount is unlikely to change the voting results overall. The top lists all finished with roughly the same number of seats, and the main charges of cheating were within the Kurdish lists and in Anbar. The only question now is if the new counting of the ballots can happen quickly and resolve the complaints with the election. The major threat to its standing was not from the Kurds for instance, but rather the major parties that were unhappy with their results and politicians that lost their seats. They believed they could manipulate the system through charges of cheating to hold onto their positions. Hopefully this can stop their attempt.
The main story remains the moves by the Shiite lists to unite to form the largest bloc and then a new government. Al Aalem reported that other parties are still having reservations about joining Moqtada al-Sadr’s Sairoon, Ammar Hakim’s Hikma, Vice President Iyad Allawi’s Wataniya, and Hadi Amiri’s Fatah coalition. Iran was allegedly applying heavy pressure on getting the remaining parties to come along. There is talk that Sadr is trying to overcome his problems with Vice President Nuri al-Maliki and his State of Law, while Prime Minister Haidar Abadi is waiting for the conference he called for after the Eid holiday to try to resolve things. Since 2005, the first step in creating a new government is to get the Shiite parties to agree. The last few years this has been more and more difficult as the Shiite leadership has fractured and personal rivalries have continuously shifted. This year is no different, so articles that talk about the process going slowly aren’t remembering that history.
Finally, there are more stories that the Communist Party (ICP) is very angry and divided over Sadr’s move towards Amiri and Fatah. The ICP was opposed to any such deal fearing that this would be a return to the sectarian governments of the past when the Communists and Sadr ran Sairoon as being for change. There are more and more reports that the Communists may step away from Sairoon and go into opposition. The ICP were always the very junior partner in the list and Sadr was going to lead the negotiations so his decision to go with Amiri over the Communists’ objections could be expected. It’s now to be seen whether the Communists will become the first and perhaps only opposition parliament in the new parliament.
Al Aalem, “The specter of constitutional vacuum looms over Iraq. The chances of settlement over candidates are rising,” 6/21/18
Hassan, Falih and Chan, Sewell, “Iraqi Court Backs Recount of All Ballots Cast in Last Month’s Elections,” New York Times, 6/21/18
Iraq News Network, “Communist Party: To remain within the history of the party and its struggle for the achievement of a civil state,” 6/18/18
- “Communist Party: We will not be prisoners of any alliance that violates the change and reform platform,” 6/16/18
- “Al Fatah Alliance: A disagreement between Abadi and al-Amiri about the candidate for the presidency of the next government,” 6/21/18
- “Sources: Sadr and Maliki in cooperation soon,” 6/18/18
Al Jazeera, “Iraq’s Supreme Court endorses manual recount of votes,” 6/21/18
Al Maalomah, “Sadr calls on the judiciary to set a time period for completing the manual counting and recommends his followers to exercise restraint,” 6/21/18
Al Mirbad, “Al-Laban to al-Mirbad: Attempts to bridge the gap between al-Maliki and al-Sadr,” 6/18/18
Saadoun, Mustafa, “Will Iraqi communists stick with Sadr’s Sairoon Alliance?” Al Monitor, 6/18/19