Political Crisis Cancelled, Provincial Elections Next in Iraq?

By Reidar Visser.

The following article was published by Reidar Visser, an historian of Iraq educated at the University of Oxford and currently based at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs. It is reproduced here with the author’s permission. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

During the course of the past month, the move to unseat Iraq’s prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, has gradually faded in strength. Within the last week, the top Sadrist leadership formally changed their position on sacking Maliki.

For their part, leading Kurds complain only they and “parts of Iraqiyya” are pressing for a questioning of the premier. True, the concept of “withdrawing confidence” remains on the agenda in the Iraqi press, but increasingly “reform”(islah) is the word of the day.

“Reform” will suit Maliki just fine since it mainly involves giving other Iraqi politicians the chance to bicker forever over the fine print of grandiose declarations that are unlikely to have any practical impact. Iraqi politicians rarely miss the opportunity of engaging in this kind of business.

There is however one item where Maliki needs the support of parliament: Local elections. This is so for two reasons. Firstly, the Iraqi supreme court has ordered parliament to fix the election law and in particular the distribution of surplus seats to better fit a proportional logic.

Secondly, Iraq needs to have a new elections commission approved. Partially, this is because the mandate of the current IHEC has expired. From Maliki’s point of view there is also the problem that he sees the current board as hostile and biased against him.

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