In the brief report that appeared in Al-Bayan, Maliki said: “National identity and tolerance must be the main deterrents against Baathist and terrorist schemes that intend to tear up Iraq’s unity and sabotage its political experience. Political pluralism must rely on national culture and the spirit of tolerance in order to achieve the citizens’ aspirations because the responsibility is complementary.”
The third matter raised by the Dawa conference is how to deal with the contradiction between the party’s rules of procedure, which prevent the party’s president from holding a formal political function, and the fact that Maliki is head of both the party and the Iraqi government.
That issue was highly controversial within the party over the past years. It is not known whether the party changed its rules of procedure to suit Maliki’s circumstance or whether some party “hawks” will later use that fault to prevent Maliki from running for a third term.
The latter point does not appear logical for reasons related to the overall performance of the Dawa Party in recent years, which saw the transformation of Maliki from a low-ranking leader for three decades into the party’s symbol and uncontested leader.
There are indications that the party’s latest elections produced no significant changes in the party’s political bureau and Shura Council. This means that the party’s leadership is sticking to its political, social and religious policies of the past years, which allowed the party to control the prime minister post for three consecutive rounds.
The Dawa Party’s latest convention indicates that Maliki has launched his political battle for a third prime ministerial term (2014-18). The first step in this battle is for Maliki to solidify the party’s political and religious foundations as well as his leadership in the party. The second step is to appeal the constitutionality of the law that set term limits for the prime minister. Maliki’s rivals passed that law to prevent him from running for a third term. And the third step is for Maliki to mobilize his supporters to gain more seats in the 2014 parliament then he did in the 2000 parliament.
Mushreq Abbas is a contributing writer for Al-Monitor’s Iraq Pulse. An author and journalist who has worked in the media for 15 years, he holds a degree in political science from Baghdad University. Besides writing studies and articles that covered Iraqi crises and publishing in the local, regional and foreign media, Abbas has worked since 2003 in the Iraqi media sector and co-founded media companies. He also produced a number of documentaries for different media and has managed Al-Hayat’s office in Iraq since 2005.