Friday, November 23, 2012

Toward Majority Government in Iraq

Iraq right now has a national unity coalition, in which all major parliamentary factions are represented.  In order to get more done, there is sentiment for a narrower coalition based on a simple parliamentary majority.  The trick is putting together a majority coalition that does not simply look like Shi'ite sectarian dominance.  Haider Najem highlights three options:
The first, as some of al-Maliki’s supporters have speculated, would be that some members of the Iraqiya and Kurdish parliamentary coalition join elements of the Shiite coalition to form a majority government that maintains at least a minimum level of sectarian and ethnic representation. However, the viability of this scenario is uncertain, at least in the current parliamentary session, and it is even less likely given the lack of international and American support.
The second scenario would be the resurrection of the 2005 Shia-Kurdish coalition which would keep Iraqiya out of the government and maintain the historical Shiite-Kurdish alliance. If this were to occur, it would completely exclude the bloc that represents the Arab Sunni population from the government and could possibly lead to the return of armed Sunni rebellion—something al-Maliki’s ally, former Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari, has warned of.
The third scenario would be the revival of the “Erbil Alliance” between the Kurds, Sunnis, and the Sadrist bloc. However, this possibility already failed earlier in the year and does not currently have much resonance among politicians or the media, due to the prevailing mistrust between the three parties in this alliance.
Despite what he says at the end of the first paragraph, Najem sees that option as the one gaining traction.



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