Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has won a third term for the presidency of his Islamic Dawa Party in an election that was attended by a number of Iraqi political leaders but in which most media were absent. That election was the start of Maliki’s battle to renew his mandate as Iraqi prime minister, also for the third time.
The Dawa Party is one of the oldest religious parties in Iraq. It was founded in the mid-1950s and was inspired by the ideas of prominent Shiite cleric Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr. But since that time, the party has suffered a series of splits over its goals, leadership or relationships inside and outside Iraq during the era when it opposed Saddam Hussein’s regime. The party regained its presence on the Iraqi scene in 2003 and has held the prime minister’s post since 2005.
The official newspaper Al-Bayan and Dawa’s official website published brief reports that the Islamic Dawa Party has re-elected Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki as its head. This is the third time he has occupied that post since 2006, when he also became prime minister after the withdrawal of former party leader and Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who went on to establish the Reform Movement. Maliki was re-elected in 2009 to head the party and in 2010 to head the government.
It is peculiar that Dawa did not mention in public statements nor in brief reports three key matters: the detailed results of the elections, the issues discussed in the party convention and the results of those discussions, and the internal party regulations with regard to how one person can be both the party’s president and Iraq’s prime minister at the same time.