Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Maliki's Strong Showing

Opposition from leading clerics in Najaf was not enough to derail Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Iraq's parliamentary elections:
Beating expectations, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki secured the largest number of seats in last month’s parliamentary elections, the first since the withdrawal of American forces at the end of 2011, putting him in a strong position to secure a third term as Iraq’s leader as negotiations begin to form a new government...
Mr. Maliki and his Shiite Islamist political coalition were expected to win a plurality of votes, and they did, but the margin of victory was greater than most analysts and politicians here forecast. Even though he faces stiff opposition to a third term from Shiite rivals and Iraq’s two other dominant factions, Sunni Arabs and Kurds, Mr. Maliki will be difficult to unseat amid what is expected to be a protracted process — one that could drag on for months — for establishing a governing coalition...
Mr. Maliki and his coalition won 93 seats in Iraq’s 328-seat Parliament, more than three times as many as the second-place finisher, the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, headed by the Shiite cleric Ammar al-Hakim, which won 29 seats. Mr. Maliki also did better than in 2010, when he came in a close second to a largely Sunni coalition that was led by a secular Shiite, Ayad Allawi, a former prime minister.
Maliki has been Iraq's leader for the past eight years, and these results make him the definite favorite for a third four-year term.  The primary alternative is for a number of smaller blocs to join what would effectively be an anti-Maliki coalition.  The lists of Ammar al-Hakim and Muqtada al-Sadr, both among al-Maliki's Shi'ite rivals, have already said they are jointly trying to take their approximately 60 seats to other factions and try to put together a workable coalition. 

Where they do have an opening is that Maliki's agenda has been to assert more control over the country from Baghdad, which on the face of it works against the interests of the Kurds and Arab Sunnis.  He has also pushed a tough line on the Sunni Arab insurgency in Anbar province.  It is still most likely that Maliki has the numerical advantage to get together the requisite majority making just a few compromises, perhaps on Kurdish oil dealings.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home