Sunday's election was long anticipated and keenly contested, and it will take many more weeks of negotiations before we finally know how the next government will look. Democracy is hard work, but most now seem to accept that it is vastly preferable to the alternatives.
And while the horse-trading continues, it's essential that those in power – public servants as well a politicians – keep sight of the goal: There's a country to be redeveloped, concrete to be poured, and oil to be pumped. Iraq's prosperity is within its grasp.
Sceptics continue to express doubts about the country's ability to meet its oil production targets, and the scale of the challenge should not be underestimated. A concerted effort by all parties and factions to resolve their problems, and to work towards a secure and prosperous Iraq, would be a big step in the right direction.
Even if it does take longer than planned to hit the output targets, massive investment will be made in infrastructure over the coming years. When Iraqis go to the polls the next time, we can expect them to do so against the background of a thriving economy, buoyed up by oil shipments far in excess of current levels.