The Sadrist Watershed Confirmed
Posted by Reidar Visser on Monday, 29 March 2010 13:04
The allocation of seats to individuals released by IHEC today confirms the growing strength of the Sadrists within the mainly Shiite Iraqi National Alliance (INA). The Sadrist position has in fact been consolidated in the final allocation (where the female quota has been taken into account), leaving it with 39 deputies which is 57% of the 68 INA deputies confirmed at the individual level. Additionally, depending on a decision by the federal supreme court, they may get two more seats since IHEC regulation 21 awards the compensation seats (two are due to INA) to those vote-getters with the highest number of votes that failed to achieve representation.
It is worth mentioning that the main competitor of the Sadrists within INA – ISCI and Badr, who now emerge weakened with no more than around 17 seats altogether – will be watching (and maybe pressing) the court on the issue of compensation seats, since it benefitted enormously from the old arrangement back in 2005, whereby it received no less than a third of its 30 parliamentary seats through “compensation seats” awarded by the party leadership without reference to the preferences of the electorate. In this way, many ISCI representatives in the previous parliament received their seats on the basis of no more than a few hundred votes in obscure locations (from a Shiite point of view) like Anbar. Other significant INA developments include the complete marginalisation of Jaafari (only he himself won a seat), along with a slight improvement on the part of Fadila, helped mainly by the female quota.
Intra-list re-ordering of candidates is somewhat less systematic with respect to other entities. It is however noteworthy that much of the attempt by Nuri al-Maliki to build bridges to Sunnis and secularists by welding together a diverse list has been reversed by the electorate in places like Baghdad. Many Westerners hailed Maliki for bringing Sunnis and secularists like Hajim al-Hasani, Abad Mutlak al-Jibburi, Abd al-Qadir al-Ubaydi, Mahdi al-Hafiz and Izzat al-Shabandar into his camp; however with less than a thousand votes each, they have all been demoted to non-winning positions on the Baghdad list for State of Law.
At some point, it is likely that the new balance of power within INA will make an impact on the dynamics of coalition formation. It is noteworthy that several Sadrists have been positive in their public comments about Allawi in the past few days.
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