The results of the Iraqi provincial elections held April 20 initiated a new political balance between the main Shiite powers in Iraq’s south, particularly in Basra. These powers are the State of Law coalition led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the Citizen’s Coalition led by cleric Ammar al-Hakim and the movement of religious figure Muqtada al-Sadr.
Maliki’s coalition won pluralities in seven of the 12 provinces where elections were held; no elections were held in Anbar, Ninevah and Kirkuk, as well as in the three Kurdish provinces of Erbil, Sulaimaniyah and Dohuk.
Yet Maliki’s victory left a bitter taste for the following three main reasons:
Maliki entered the elections with the intent of winning in all Shiite cities and of forming provincial governments by having political majorities. While he wants to apply this majority principle in the upcoming 2014 parliamentary elections, he failed to obtain it in his coalition’s attempt to form provincial governments. This forced him to resort once again to complicated arrangements with opponents lying in wait, and with scattered small forces.
The number of seats obtained by Maliki’s coalition nationwide indicates that it lost at least 38 seats compared with the number of seats it obtained in 2009.
Maliki formed alliances with major political blocs such as the National Reform Trend led by Ibrahim al-Jaafari, the Badr Organization led by Hady al-Amiri, the Islamic Virtue Party and independent parties, while Sadr and Hakim made no alliances.