Let the Post Election Horse Trading Begin: Iraqi Politicians Playing the Long Game
The current Prime Minister of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki, and his bloc won the largest number of votes in the recent general election. However it is unlikely to be enough to form a government. Along with economic issues and ongoing violence in Anbar, Iraq is now facing a political crisis that could go on for months.
The Iraqi general elections have been and gone and now, judging by the preliminary results of voting, the real work will start.
The State of Law group of politicians, led by current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, has managed to win the most votes despite much criticism of al-Maliki over the past couple of years. Al-Maliki and his colleagues in State of Law have 92 seats in the 328 Iraqi Parliament, if the most recent numbers released by the Independent High Electoral Commission remain the same when the final, official results are announced in a few days.
Al-Maliki’s Shiite Muslim-led coalition was followed at a distance by two other Shiite Muslim groups, the Muwatin, or Citizen, bloc headed by Ammar al-Hakim of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, who had 29 seats, and the Ahrar bloc, which is closely associated with the Sadrist movement, who got 28 seats.
Sunni Muslim parties were further behind with the United bloc, led by one of the country’s most prominent Sunni politicians, Osama al-Nujaifi, getting 23 seats, the bloc led by former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, which has a less sectarian agenda, winning 21 seats, and the Al Arabiya bloc, which is led by Deputy Prime Minister, Saleh al-Mutlaq, making it to at least ten seats.
Sunni Muslim politicians in Iraq are already attributing their decline to the fact that many Sunni Muslims in Iraq were either feeling too disenfranchised to vote, because of al-Maliki’s ongoing marginalization of their sect, or they were victims of violence in the predominantly Sunni Muslim province of Anbar. Because of an anti-government insurgency that continues there, tens of thousands have been displaced and others were simply unable to vote because of security concerns in their hometowns.