Such a map suggests three Sunni public opinion trends:
Major parts of the Sunni public increasingly support the proposals of Mutahidoun, whose major component is the Islamic Party, the Iraqi branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. The list drew an early red line about the possibility of joining a government coalition headed by current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and alluded to the option of forming a “Sunni province” as an alternative way to solve the accumulated crises with Shiite-led Iraqi governments.
Large segments of the Sunni public still support Allawi’s proposals. He presents himself as a representative who wants to establish a secular state with a national character in harmony with the Arab surroundings and hostile, in one way or another, to Iranian policies.
There are Sunni currents that believe it is possible to cooperate and reach an understanding with the Shiite government led by Maliki, and that achieving Sunni interests could be done by coping with such a government and avoiding a confrontation with it. That current is represented by Mutlaq, the defense minister by proxy Saadoun al-Dulaimi, the leader of the Iraqi Sahwa Ahmed Abu Risha and the controversial politician Mishaan al-Jubouri. This current seems much weaker than the other two, according to preliminary information about the election results.
The first challenge facing the Sunni political forces is almost similar to the challenges facing the Shiite and Kurdish forces, and is centered around the possibility of establishing a grand coalition among the winning Sunni forces before the negotiations to form a government.
Yet, responding to such a challenge is very complicated. On the one hand, the three main Sunni currents are not in agreement. They disagree on many aspects, especially about who would lead such a coalition.
It can be recalled that the departure of the Sunnis from the Iraqiyya list, which was led by Allawi and which won 91 parliamentary seats in the 2010 elections, and the Sunnis entering the current elections on other lists that have a clear “Sunni” discourse has caused a leadership struggle for the Sunnis. Nujaifi will not accept a secondary representative role under Allawi, nor would Allawi agree to a coalition led by Nujaifi, and the distance between Mutlaq and the others is bigger than ever.
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