Iraq and Gulf Analysis

Archive for March, 2010

Iraqiyya Challenges the Jurisdiction of the Federal Supreme Court

Posted by Reidar Visser on Wednesday, 31 March 2010 12:51

In its reaction to the recent opinion by the Iraqi federal supreme court on the permissibility of creating post-election alliances in order to achieve the position as the “biggest bloc in terms of numbers”, the Iraqiyya alliance headed by Ayad Allawi has challenged the jurisdiction of the court itself.

Strange as it may sound, the challenge is in fact quite plausible. It relates to yet another aspect of incompletion in the post-2003 framework of government in Iraq: While the constitution adopted in 2005 does create an overall framework for the federal supreme court, a number of central issues – including the key question of the composition of the court – have been left to be hammered out by future legislation. Not only that, the sensitivity of the issue of the court’s composition was considered to be such that a provision was made for a special majority (two thirds of the parliament) for the relevant bill to pass. Needless to say, no law has seen the light of day so far, and the closest Iraq has to a supreme court are relics of the CPA period. These are namesakes of the institutions outlined in the constitution, but they are not identical: Rather the parameters of their operation are defined in separate legislation passed in February 2005, i.e. several months prior to the adoption of the constitution.

Crucially, the prerogatives of the court that were defined in February 2005 are narrower than those adopted in the constitution. Whereas interpretation of the constitution was indeed part of the latter (which clearly foresaw a federal supreme court functioning as a constitutional court proper) this power is not enumerated in the legislation that was passed in February 2005. In other respects there are many similarities, including the authority to settle disputes between the various levels administration in Iraq as a federal state (regions, governorates, sub-governorates, etc.), as well as reviewing the constitutionality of laws that are passed. But while some may see the latter as an implicit recognition that the court does exercise a degree of constitutional interpretation (how could it otherwise perform constitutional review?) it does seem significant that the task of interpreting the constitution is mentioned specifically in the description of the (projected) federal supreme court in the constitution, indicating that this new prerogative is intended to go beyond what had been stipulated in the February 2005 legislation. It is of course problematic that even though much of the work of the federal supreme court has indeed focused on relations between the various levels of government (as mandated by the February 2005 rules), in some cases it has already exercised a degree of constitutional interpretation of the kind that is now being challenged by Iraqiyya.

As for the substantive issue at hand one may sympathise with either side, depending on whether one wants to take a scriptural reading of the constitution or emphasise democratic values more broadly. From the technical point of view, it is true that the constitution is vague by simply identifying “the biggest bloc in parliament in numerical terms” as the force that is to be charged with forming a government, upon request from the president. In practice, during the 2005–2010 period, the definition of a “kutla” has indeed proven to be elastic, since big “kutlas” have become smaller (most notably the United Iraqi Alliance, which today is listed in parliamentary documents as the Sadrists, Fadila and the rump UIA), and some smaller once have grown (for example the breakaway ex-Iraqiyya deputies that eventually amalgamated into an entity of their own). From the point of view of democratic theory, though, the idea of post-election coalition-forming comes across as somewhat more suspect, since it would involve a great amount of backroom deals in which the electorate had no say at all.

Some will perhaps object and point out that such post-election deal-making is after all a natural part of the democratic process in many countries, and also that the idea of the biggest bloc in parliament forming the government is not necessarily universal. But there are key differences with the Iraqi situation. In mature democracies, coalition scenarios are often part and parcel of the election campaign; in Iraq, by way of contrast, almost nothing was done by the parties to communicate to the electorate their visions of possible post-election deals. Similarly, while the president in many democracies is given a certain leeway to evaluate the prospects of government viability more broadly before singling out a PM nominee (instead of automatically giving the job to the biggest bloc), the problem in Iraq is that the selection of the president is part of the same electoral dynamic that produces the parliament, and whoever holds the position is therefore less credible as an independent broker in this kind of process.

Meanwhile, if there is no legal arbiter in this matter, the best way to avoid a violent showdown over the issue would be for Iraqiyya to make headway with its coalition-building initiatives and thereby forestall the kind of super-alliance to which it objects (most realistically just the Iraqi National Alliance and State of Law merging to form the “biggest bloc”, which would be a copy of UIA, the all-Shiite alliance of the past). There is much to suggest that the internal friction in the would-be rejuvenated UIA remains considerable, but the Sadrists seem to be moving ahead with some kind of internal consultation process with its supporters on the best PM candidate, which might have a significant impact given its overall strength within the INA, and should indicate to the Iraqiyya leadership that the clock is already ticking.

Posted in Iraq's 2010 parliamentary election, Iraqi constitutional issues | 17 Comments »

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.

Sadr Badr ISCI Jaafari Fadila Other
Basra 3 1 2 1
Maysan 3 1 1 1
Dhi Qar 4 2 1 2
Muthanna 2 1
Qadisiyya 2 1 2
Babel 3 1 1
Najaf 3 1 1
Karbala 2 1
Wasit 3 1*
Baghdad 12 2 1 1 1
Diyala 2 1
Nineveh 1
Total 39 9 8 1 6 5


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.

Posted in Iraq's 2010 parliamentary election | 48 Comments »

The Uncertified Results: Allawi Comes Out on Top with 89+2 Seats

Posted by Reidar Visser on Friday, 26 March 2010 18:35

…Maliki got 87.  They will end up 91-89 with compensatory seats. Full story here.

Posted in Iraq's 2010 parliamentary election | 66 Comments »

The Pro-Kurdish Minority Vote

Posted by Reidar Visser on Thursday, 25 March 2010 11:48

The big question concerning the 8 minority seats in the next Iraqi parliament is just how pro-Kurdish their occupants will be. Admittedly, of course, the 8 minority seats, representing around 60,000 votes and just about 2.5% of all the deputies in the next parliament, are somewhat marginal to the overall result. Nonetheless, with Iraq on its way to an extremely complicated government-formation process, every little bloc will be of significance – and with the small numbers involved it seems safe to assume that the 96% count can provide a reliable prognosis of what the minority-seat distribution will look like.

The answer to the question of Kurdish influence on the minority representatives seems to be 3 very pro-Kurdish, 3 quite pro-Kurdish, one anti-Kurdish and one uncommitted. Three of the seats are tied to a particular governorate – a Sabaean seat for Baghdad and seats for the Shabak and Yazidis in Nineveh. The Sabaean seat will go to Khalid Amin Rumi, who reportedly enjoys the support of the traditional religious establishment of the Sabaeans. In Nineveh, however, the Kurdish question comes into play. Kurdish nationalists prefer to define both the Yazidis and Shabak as “Kurds” but significant forces within those communities, in turn, would rather like to emphasise separate (and in some cases explicitly non-Kurdish) identities.

As a result of this situation, the Kurdish leadership has previously argued for a multiplication of seats for these minorities in the hope that some of them will be filled by pro-Kurdish representatives (which are heavily financed by the KRG), as seen in the attempt to ensure a greater minority quota in the provincial election law in the autumn of 2008. Conversely, anti-Kurdish forces in Iraqi politics have sought to limit the seats to one per minority (to avoid Kurdish financing of what is seen as “artificial” placemen that speak in the name of the community in question but in reality owe their position to the KRG), and were successful in this in the final iteration of the provincial elections law as well as in elections law adopted last autumn. However, even though the result is very close, it now seems the Kurds have been able to replace the anti-Kurdish Hunayn al-Qaddo (around 10,000 votes) with a pro-KRG candidate (around 11,000 votes). Among the Yazidis, however, the seat will go to a party that has a history of challenging the Kurdish claim for national leadership over the Yazidis.

The remaining five seats are for Iraq’s Christian communities. Originally, they were set aside for the five governorates with largest Christian populations (Baghdad, Nineveh, Tamim, Arbil, Dahuk) but during the final vote on the election law Christian leaders already represented in the existing parliament secured a last-minute addition stipulating a single constituency for all of Iraq. This had the effect of maximising the ethno-sectarian aspect of the vote, since Christians everywhere will vote for representatives that may well live outside their home governorate, with the sectarian identity as their only tie. Also, those Christians who do well at the aggregate communitarian level will easily prevail over candidates with more local ties whose support base is limited to a particular governorate.

Percentage counted 389




391 392 393 394 395
Basra 97 218 461 1219 235 237 93 44 2507
Maysan 98 110 69 60 146 219 38 59 701
Dhi Qar 97 352 578 86 131 131 43 30 1351
Muthanna 98 119 228 68 119 53 35 26 648
Qadisiyya 97 110 61 100 306 362 85 59 1083
Babel 96 191 446 572 90 151 54 71 1575
Najaf 98 118 51 79 189 357 63 24 881
Karbala 97 91 71 236 466 93 44 43 1044
Wasit 99 109 223 454 42 87 90 47 1052
Baghdad (1) 95 4538 2312 443 472 475 585 200 9025
Anbar 94 327 88 78 78 61 48 6 686
Salahaddin 95 131 416 124 87 47 50 19 874
Diyala 94 91 117 61 744 173 72 20 1278
Nineveh (1) 94 6080 7916 726 567 267 659 3452 19667
Kirkuk (1) 90 1447 396 378 108 78 133 49 2589
Arbil (1) 95 1708 2137 520 267 110 211 37 4990
Dahuk (1) 96 5728 3129 244 716 234 362 64 10477
Sulimaniya 93 252 64 40 187 106 40 36 725
21720 18763 5488 4950 3241 2705 4286 61153

***The Christian vote on 7 March, 96% count

The results demonstrate these effects very clearly. With a total participation of around 60,000, there will be an electoral divider of around 12,000 per seat. Looking at the results, only two big lists are anywhere near securing seats under this system: The Rafidayn list (389) headed by Yunadim Kanna, and the Chaldean Syriac Assyrian list led by Sarkis Aghajan (390), probably with 3 seats to the former and 2 seats to the latter, and with the other five lists unrepresented. It is particularly noteworthy that the two winning lists perform poorly south of Baghdad, where other lists do well but have no chance of winning seats due to the single-constituency arrangement in which their local majorities disappear in the final count. Another local challenger in Nineveh (John Joseph, 395) also loses out due to the concentration of his vote in a single governorate.

In terms of relations with the Kurds, both Kanna and Aghajan have a history of doing business with Arbil. Kanna used to have a close relationship with the KRG but more recently has tried to create more balanced relations with Baghdad. Accordingly, it is Aghajan that is today seen as the “KDP choice”. For sure, members of the exiled community of Assyrians, which is strong in the United States, criticise both leaders for sell-out to the Kurds and a failure to insist on the scheme for a separate Assyrian state in the north. But while both leaders have voiced an interest in using federalism to designate some kind of homeland for the Christians in a territorial enclave, Kanna has apparently gravitated towards the idea of an arrangement with Baghdad whereas Aghajan supporters have talked about annexation of parts of Nineveh to the KRG and decentralisation on that basis. (It has to be added that neither scheme is constitutional, since only governorates can serve as basis for new federal entities.)

The big losers in this, thanks not least to the election system, are the traditional forces among Iraqi Christians that have emphasised the religious aspect of Christian identity instead of the ethno-sectarian one, and coexistence instead of a quest for federal solutions. Historically, those forces were strongest among the long-established Chaldean community. However, ever since the arrival of the Nestorian refugees from Hakkari after the First World War and their project of imposing an Assyrian national agenda on all Christians of Iraq, the Chaldeans have been at disadvantage, despite their numerical strength. In the 1920s and 1930s, the British favoured the Nestorian Assyrians by using them as levies and in high positions in the security forces. After 2003, Paul Bremer sidelined the Chaldeans and promoted Assyrian leaders because his mathematical model of proportional representation allowed space for one Christian only and the Assyrians were loudest! Today, the preference for Chaldean-oriented lists in places like Basra can be confirmed in the election result, but the rules of the game mean that this will not be sufficient to challenge Assyrian hegemony within the Christian community as a whole. Of course, had it not been for the single constituency, Christian voters outside the five governorates with designated minority seats would simply have voted like other Iraqi voters, with Iraqiyya and State of Law as the most like competitors among this segment.

All in all, the Kurds probably benefited most from the minority vote, since the 3 deputies that will be firmly in their camp represent less than 30,000 voters, or less than an average seat in the competition over ordinary seats. The full results are expected Friday evening.

Posted in Iraq's 2010 parliamentary election, Iraqi constitutional issues, Sectarian master narrative | 13 Comments »

A Dead Heat: The 95 Percent Count

Posted by Reidar Visser on Monday, 22 March 2010 10:53

It seems is will take another week before we will have the final uncertified results (Friday is mentioned as a possible release date), so in the meanwhile, here is a prognosis based on the 95% count, this time with compensation seats added:

Percentage counted INA SLA INM Unity of Iraq Tawafuq Kurdistan Alliance Other Kurdish
Basra 97 7 14 3
Maysan 98 6 4
Dhi Qar 97 9 8 1
Muthanna 98 3 4
Qadisiyya 97 5 5 1
Babel 96 5 8 3
Najaf 98 5 7
Karbala 97 3 6 1
Wasit 99 4 6 1
Baghdad 95 16 27 24 1
Anbar 94 12 1 1
Salahaddin 95 10 1 1
Diyala 94 3 1 8 1
Nineveh 94 1 21 1 1 7
Kirkuk 90 6 6
Arbil 95 10 2+1+1
Dahuk 96 8 2
Sulimaniya 93 7 6+3+1
Total + compensation (C) 67+2C 90+2C 91+2C 3 4 39+1C 8+6+2

***Excluding 8 minority seats. 1 seat in Babel corrected from INA to INM.

The picture is more or less identical to that presented previously for the 66% count. State of Law (SLA) and Iraqiyya (INM) are still neck and neck, but with INM’s lead now reduced to one seat.

For unclear reasons, the international media keeps reporting the race as if the total number of votes nationwide or the act of “winning” particular governorates (i.e. by coming first) were of immense importance. For example, a recent AFP report reads, “The latest partial results, released Saturday, showed al-Maliki’s secular Shiite challenger, former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, leading by a slim margin over the prime minister’s coalition in the overall tally. However, al-Maliki is winning in seven of Iraq’s 18 provinces, which is significant because parliament seats are allotted based on the outcome of voting in each province.” The truth is that none of this has any significance whatsoever. Under Iraq’s system of proportional representation, the sole relevance of the national total is to compute the 7 compensatory seats, and it is the proportion of seats in each governorate that counts, not the question of who comes first (for example, in Qadisiyya, INA looks set to “beat” SLA with a few hundred votes and yet they will both get 5 seats each). Maybe this strange reporting is a result of Anglo-Saxon and Westminster ideals of majoritarian democracy still exercising a certain influence!

The only plausible explanation for diverging predictions at this stage lies in the question of how to compute the second allocation of seats in each governorate, the so-called “vacant” seats that remain after each entity has been given a number of seats based on the initial calculation in which its votes are divided by the electoral divider (all valid votes divided by available seats). Now, the fourth part of article three in the amendments to the electoral law that were passed last autumn says these remaining seats are for “winning entities that received a number of seats (‘adad min al-maqa‘id) in the initial allocation”. Several Iraqi legal experts say this means you need to have won more than one seat (rather than “any number of seats”) to take part in the second allocation, reflecting the bias towards larger parties in Iraq’s variant of PR. However, this aspect is not spelt out in detail in IHEC regulation 21 on the distribution of seats! It does make a difference, since Tawafuq would “steal” around 3 seats from Iraqiyya under a more proportional method of distribution in which 1-seat entities are allowed to take part in the second allocation (Iraqiyya would in turn win one seat in Wasit, though, at the expense of SLA, creating a tie). Failure to take into account this aspect may explain the fact that some Western estimates tend to put Tawafuq higher and Iraqiyya lower, whereas the IHEC numbers fed to the Iraqi political entities so far seem to be more in accordance with the numbers presented above and hence a more majoritarian reading of the relevant legislation.

Alternative allocation:

Percentage counted INA SLA INM Unity of Iraq Tawafuq Kurdistan Alliance Other Kurdish
Basra 97 7 14 3
Maysan 98 6 4
Dhi Qar 97 9 8 1
Muthanna 98 3 4
Qadisiyya 97 5 5 1
Babel 96 5 8 3
Najaf 98 5 7
Karbala 97 3 6 1
Wasit 99 4 5 2
Baghdad 95 16 27 24 1
Anbar 94 11 1 2
Salahaddin 95 9 1 2
Diyala 94 3 1 8 1
Nineveh 94 1 20 1 2 7
Kirkuk 90 6 6
Arbil 95 10 2+1+1
Dahuk 96 8 2
Sulimaniya 93 7 6+3+1
Total + compensation (C) 67+2C 89+2C 89+2C 3 7 39+1C 8+6+2

***Excluding 8 minority seats.

Posted in Iraq's 2010 parliamentary election | 96 Comments »

The Internal Dynamics of the Iraqi National Alliance: The Sadrist Factor

Posted by Reidar Visser on Wednesday, 17 March 2010 13:52

[Please note: This article was written while aboard an airplane based on the 66% count. New IHEC figures including more counts (circa 80%) have just become available, but the article is published as it stands on the basis of the previous data set]

Back in 2005, it was often an uphill struggle to argue that the influence of ISCI (then SCIRI) within the grand Shiite coalition known as the United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) was generally exaggerated. Only after the local elections in January 2009 was the gradual weakening of ISCI acknowledged more widely, even if that trend in reality had been in the making for many years.

Today, the partial results of the parliamentary elections indicate that the open-list system – whereby voters may override the backroom dealing and wheeling of the party cadres – has contributed to a further marginalisation of ISCI within the reconstituted Shiite alliance known as the Iraqi National Alliance (INA). Based on a prognosis of 67 INA seats, the results so far clearly indicate a Sadrist lead with 34 or more than half of the seats. Given the increasingly critical condition of ISCI with an obvious leadership vacuum after the death of Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim, it now makes sense to distinguish between the former militia (Badr) and the political wing (ISCI), especially since it seems Badr has a certain core electorate in some southern provinces.  They get around 8 seats each, which is less than half of what the Sadrists get even if Badr and ISCI are counted together. The women’s quota will interfere with the final count: It does seem that the Sadrists have made a point of including a substantial number of female candidates on their lists, but in practice the women’s quota in this game will sometimes serve to strengthen the default ordering of the party elites against the wishes of the electorate. It is difficult to predict exactly what effect this will have, not least since some lists have fewer women on them than they should have had.

Sadr Badr ISCI Jaafari Fadila Other
Basra 3 1 1 1 1
Maysan 3 1 1 1
Dhi Qar 4 1 1 2 1
Muthanna 1 1 1
Qadisiyya 2 1 1 1
Babel 3 1 1 1
Najaf 3 1 1
Karbala 1 1 1
Wasit 3 1
Baghdad 11 2 1 1 1
Diyala 1 1
Nineveh 1
Total 34 8 8 3 4 8


Other trends include dismal performance by the Jaafari wing of the Daawa (which had a far more respectable performance in the local elections only a year ago). Fadila is also reduced, but has been in decline for a while. Significant failures include Wail Abd al-Latif (the secularist candidate in Basra), Abd al-Karim al-Anizi (Tanzim al-Dakhil, Diwaniyya), Taha Diraa (a vocal independent from Diyala), Qasim Dawud (independent in Najaf), Muyin al-Kazimi (ex provincial council leader for ISCI/Badr in Baghdad), Daghir al-Musawi (a militia-affiliated character who has been influential in Basra for some time), Hamid al-Hayis (the “Sunni cover” in Anbar), Sharif Ali bin Hussein bin Ali (ditto in Baghdad – no monarchy in Iraq anytime soon it seems), Muwaffaq al-Rubayie (949 votes in Baghdad so far) and – wait for it – Ali Faysal al-Lami, the de-Baathification director in Baghdad (so far only 590 out of some 324,000 INA voters in Baghdad have bothered to check his candidate number). Already old stalwarts like Jalal al-Din al-Saghir, Humam al-Hamudi and Hamid al-Muala have conveniently removed themselves from the public gaze by running as symbolic candidates in Kurdish and Sunni-majority areas (their hoped-for compensation seats now look doubtful), and of course Ammar al-Hakim decided not to be on any list at all.

In sum, it seems the Sadrists were a lot more successful with their “primaries” last autumn than ISCI (who tried to copy them but clearly failed in identifying the right candidates in a process which looked rather bogus at the time, including SMS voting). One of the remarkable aspects of the Sadrist success is their ability to use the open-list vote strategically, i.e. by spreading the vote on a number of winning candidates across the list (the more usual pattern is that a limited number of highly popular candidates stand out). An interesting story by Anthony Shadid in The New York Times today hints about something that sounds like a district allocation key which may have played a role in this at least in Baghdad. Additionally, the Sadrists, led by a 7-man committee of scholars based in Najaf who have liaised with Muqtada al-Sadr, have put a great effort into promoting individual candidates and providing voters with information on their educational and career backgrounds. But Sadrist voters are not doing this blindly: Some Sadrist candidates have been effectively demoted, such as Qusay Abd al-Wahhab, number six on the original list in Baghdad, and a deputy in the outgoing parliament.

It seems inevitable that the remarkable Sadrist comeback at some point will be reflected in different coalition-forming dynamics. So far, this tentative process has remained dominated by the old elites, but what is really the point in negotiating with a 16-man bloc such as ISCI/Badr? With 34 plus candidates, the Sadrist will form a sizeable contingent of deputies comparable to the Kurdistan Alliance and as such will constitute an independent centre of power in the next Iraqi parliament.

Posted in Iraq's 2010 parliamentary election, UIA dynamics | 26 Comments »

Predictions Based on Partial Results: Allawi Emerges as a Possible Front-Runner

Posted by Reidar Visser on Tuesday, 16 March 2010 19:01

This is a back-of-an-envelope calculation and it likely contains several errors. I am especially troubled that I keep getting different electoral dividers from everyone I’m comparing notes with! Nonetheless, the partial results are now getting quite substantial in scope, and for what it may be worth, here follows an attempt at simulating the final outcome if the trends observed so far remain stable. Noteworthy tendencies include the strong performance of Allawi everywhere north of Baghdad: This adds up and puts him in front, since the southern governorates remain subdivided. And with the consistently strong showing by the Sadrists and their marginalisation of ISCI within the INA (see today’s earlier post below), is it not time that Allawi focuses his talks on them rather than on Hakim? It is also interesting to see how small parties who miss the threshold of the electoral divider  lose out completely because of the counting rules (in small constiuencies like Muthanna and Maysan, 10% of the vote may be insufficient to win a seat), and how the big parties are systematically favoured in the count of the last remaining seats. Obviously, for the same reasons, small changes can have a quite dramatic impact on the final results, so there is still much to play for here.

Percentage counted INA SLA INM Unity of Iraq Tawafuq Kurdistan Alliance Other or too close to call
Basra 84 7 14 2 1
Maysan 60 6 4
Dhi Qar 73 9 8 1
Muthanna 75 3 4
Qadisiyya 60 5 5 1
Babel 61 6 7 2 1
Najaf 63 5 7
Karbala 61 3 6 1
Wasit 88 4 5 1 1
Baghdad 60 16 27 24 1
Anbar 78 12 1 1
Salahaddin 63 10 1 1
Diyala 62 2 1 9 1
Nineveh 63 1 21 1 1 6 1
Kirkuk 69 6 6
Arbil 64 10 2+2
Dahuk 61 9 1
Sulimaniya 75 7 6+2+1+1
Total 67 88 90 3 4 39 19

Excluding 8 minority seats and 7 compensation seats

Posted in Iraq's 2010 parliamentary election | 36 Comments »

Baghdad Projections Based on a 60 Percent Count

Posted by Reidar Visser on Tuesday, 16 March 2010 14:35

The latest IHEC numbers are beginning to trickle in. Baghdad at 60% is significant enough to report separately, with the following rough projection for the 68 non-minority seats:

State of Law: 27 seats

Iraqiyya: 24 seats

Iraqi National Alliance: 16 seats

Tawafuq: 1 seat

It is noteworthy that Iraqiyya is doing particularly well compared with the previous figures, and now stands at 32% of the total vote, closing the gap to Maliki somewhat. The case of Baghdad also exemplifies how the particular proportional-representation system chosen by Iraq is not especially proportional and works to the disadvantage of smaller parties: Unity of Iraq, Ahrar, Ittihad al-Shaab and the Kurds should all have had one seat each if the system were perfectly proportional, but since they did not meet the threshold for the first allocation of seats in this example (around 35,000 votes), “their” seats are given to the “winning” lists instead.

At the individual level, the Sadrists continue to do particularly well, with the following approximate list for the top 16 INA candidates that are likely to win seats in parliament, adjusted for voter preferences:

  1. Jaafari
  2. Solagh
  3. Sadrist
  4. Sadrist
  5. Sadrist
  6. Sadrist
  7. Sadrist
  8. Sadrist
  9. Chalabi
  10. Sadrist
  11. Sadrist
  12. Sadrist
  13. ISCI
  14. Badr
  15. Sadrist
  16. Sadrist

Posted in Iraq's 2010 parliamentary election | 9 Comments »

Partial Election Results for 13 Governorates Released by IHEC

Posted by Reidar Visser on Sunday, 14 March 2010 18:37

After a good deal of dithering, including the release of erroneous numbers and a subsequent withdrawal, IHEC has now made available partial results for 13 governorates. This material has the advantage in that it is complete and not limited to the numbers of the front-runners only, thereby enabling an evaluation of changes in percentages since the local elections last year, as well as analyses of intra-list trends. For Basra and Anbar, released today in the evening, the material is quite substantial as well, with more than 50% of the votes counted… Full story here.

Posted in Iraq's 2010 parliamentary election | 8 Comments »

Sadrist Performance under the Open-List System

Posted by Reidar Visser on Saturday, 13 March 2010 2:50

While we are waiting for more complete elections results, one of the interesting aspects of the materials released by IHEC thus far concerns the impact of the open-list system on internal alliance dynamics.

One of the most heterogeneous alliances in this respect is 316, the Iraqi National Alliance (INA), the Shiite-led bloc formed in Iran last year by an alliance of ISCI, Ibrahim al-Jaafari’s wing of the Daawa and the Sadrists. A key question has been whether the open-list system would bring into the open an assumed grass-root support base for the Sadrists that was not reflected at the elite level, where ISCI was dominant.

Babel Original list Partial results
1 ISCI Badr
2 Jaafari Sadr
3 Sadr ISCI
4 Badr Sadr
5 Independent Sadr
Maysan Original list Partial results
1 Fadila Sadr
2 Jaafari Sadr
3 Sadr Local ally of ISCI
4 Badr Sadr
5 Local ally of ISCI Fadila
Najaf Original list Partial results
1 Sadr Badr
2 Badr Sadr
3 Jaafari Sadr
4 Sadr Sadr
5 Bahr al-Ulum Independent


The theoretical re-ordering of the INA list on the basis of the partial results suggests that this kind of factor may indeed exist. It is noteworthy that in this material, Sadrist representation more than doubles among the top five vote-getters in each governorate as a result of the open-list system, increasing from 4 to 9. This is at the expense of ISCI/Badr in particular, which were dominant by default in the original 316 list (even though some Badr representatives in core areas like Najaf still do well), as well as Jaafari and Fadila, who both generally perform dismally in this material. Of the three governorates covered – Najaf, Maysan (released on Friday) and Babel – only Maysan can really be described as a traditional Sadrist stronghold.

The final ranking of the candidates must also take into account women’s quotas, although it is noteworthy that the Sadrists in fact provide rare examples of women actively being promoted at the expense of male candidates from other parties. At any rate, if these patterns prevail in the final results they might have interesting implications for future coalition dynamics (including the scenario of successful elements from 316 breaking out to join new coalitions), where negotiations so far have been conducted mainly by the old, “closed-list” elites.

Posted in Iraq's 2010 parliamentary election, UIA dynamics | 4 Comments »