Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki seemed confident that he will achieve “a landslide victory” in the local elections on April 20. His confidence was apparent in the statements he made while campaigning for his State of Law coalition. He called for “early elections” from which will emanate a “majority government” that will grant him a “third term.”
Maliki’s electoral proposals reveal the nature of Iraq’s political divide. He said, “The political process has entered into the recovery room. Relations between our partners was based on disruption, which necessitates early elections that will draw a new political map to revive the country…Security and development will not be achieved unless there is political stability, which is achieved by forming a majority government…What exists now is not a partnership, but quotas, and this is very harmful to the political process as long as there is no political majority that supports the local and federal governments.”
Maliki, who is both the prime minister and head of the State of Law coalition, had previously called for a “majority government” by asserting that his coalition will win “a majority of the seats in all Iraqi cities.” He also asserted that his opponents’ attempts to prevent his nomination for a third term as head of government (2014-2018) were “desperate” and “unconstitutional.”
What is said during electoral campaigns is not normally given a lot of weight, but in the very complex and deteriorating political situation in Iraq, campaign statements tend to reveal the nature of the crisis and the proposed solutions.
Maliki’s opponents believe that a “majority government” implies a sectarian majority composed of Shiites that will exclude the Sunnis and Kurds. They also wonder that since Maliki has monopolized power despite the agreements he struck with his partners and despite their presence in government, what would happen if his political party was allowed to monopolize the cabinet? They also find it problematic that Maliki is insisting on a third term as a prime minister who controls all the executive authority, while dozens of laws that limit the prime minister’s powers are being stalled. Maliki’s opponents are trying to set term limits for the premiership. They have presented a law in that regard to the Constitutional Court. Sources say that the court will reject that law.