Maliki Goes on Offence as Elections Approach

Maliki’s current alliances emphasized its Shiite character, compared to the way things were in 2010, and the closeness of Maliki to the extreme religious-right Shiite forces such as the Fadila Party, and to those closest to Iran such as the Badr Organization and Ahl al-Haq Movement.

This focus on the Shiite constituency might be understandable. All the main forces preferred to consolidate their sectarian electoral constituencies because they realized that larger blocs will be formed after the elections. However, it is still unclear whether Maliki’s alliance with the Islamic Supreme Council and most other Shiite forces in Saladin province indicates that a similar national alliance will be formed after the elections.

There are also small groups that are pro-Maliki but entered the electoral race on separate lists to increase their chances of gaining votes, which would be difficult to obtain by being part of the State of Law Coalition. These groups include the Iraqi Loyalty Coalition led by Sami al-Askari, Maliki's close associate, the Movement for a Fair State — both of which are running in the elections in Baghdad and cities with a Shiite majority — and the Rule of Law Youth Movement, which is running in Baghdad.

Although Ali al-Adeeb, a senior member of the Dawa Party who is seen as a potential alternative to Maliki, is heading the State of Law Coalition list in Karbala, he is also leading a separate group called the Gathering of Comprehensive Revival. This gathering also includes candidates in Baghdad and cities with a Shiite majority. This step can be interpreted as part of an electoral tactic aimed at acquiring any votes that may not go directly to the State of Law Coalition. It also infers internal tension resulting from the rivalry between Maliki and Adeeb, which is one of the reasons that seem to have pushed Maliki to rely more on his relatives and place the husbands of his two daughters on the State of Law Coalition list in Karbala, which is headed by Adeeb.

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