Iraq and Gulf Analysis

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.

66 Responses to “The Uncertified Results: Allawi Comes Out on Top with 89+2 Seats”

  1. Jason said


  2. Aswat reports State of Law won the most seats.

  3. Reidar Visser said

    Well, they are wrong. I’ll have the full table up in a matter of minutes

  4. Jason said

    This could be bad if it results in a long, protracted battle over recounts like Florida. Maybe Maliki will settle for President in a unity govt?

  5. Ali said

    BBC reports allawi won, their figures are the same as yours

  6. JCM said

    Any idea how the popular vote percentages broke down? I know it’s not important in any legal/procedural sense, but it will likely help shape public reaction.

  7. Reidar Visser said

    Link to full story now added in original post.

  8. Reidar Visser said

    JCM, to be honest, during the press conference I concentrated on getting the seat numbers right. I will look at the total numbers when they are published, but as far as I remember the two lists had more or less the same total numbers in the 96% count. Maliki’s personal vote in Baghdad is somewhat stronger than Allawi, but not that much: 570,000 versus 372,000 at the 96% level.

  9. Ali said

    Hi Reidar, if the SLA and INA refuse to join allawi, could he still form the government, and how stable would it be.

  10. Reidar Visser said

    Ali, please see the article linked above where this scenario is discussed (“Ayad Allawi and Iraqiyya…”). It would be a bloc of 166, which is mathematically sufficient but a bit close to 163 in practice, so Allawi should probably try to attract some centralist Shiite support if he wants that to work.

  11. “the key definition of “the largest bloc in parliament” … can also include post-election bloc formation.”
    Reidar, this looks like changing the rules while the game is still in progress, it was not apparent to the voters at the time of the elections. Is this legit?

  12. Reidar Visser said

    Faisal, it has been under discussion for a while. The ironic thing is that just a few weeks ago, Maliki supporters criticised the more liberal interpretation as a “coup against the constitution” or something like that, because they feared it might be used against them! The constitution just says “kutla” and if you look at how parliament has defined its blocs, a “kutla” can change all the time in composition.

  13. Salah said

    lets hope this will give a new kick to the peaceful prosperous future of Iraq.

  14. Salah, not so fast with optimism my friend: Allawi could be tackled (bend..) by the ruling of kutla formation after the election results.

    Reidar, this explains the layed back confidence of the INA and others.. It ain’t over yet.

  15. Gösta Grönroos said

    Reidar, could you please explain the importance of getting the first shot at forming the government. It would seem less important, if there are strong commitments between certain parties anyway. Or is the time factor crucial in this regard?

  16. Reidar Visser said

    Gösta, two aspects come to mind. Firstly, the fact that the process is not automatic means the president is given a role as interpreter and therefore it becomes more important for the next government to first agree on a presidential candidate. Secondly, it makes the whole game more complicated. With one candidate, that person would become the focus of attention for all attempts at alliances. With multiple possibilities, alternate scenarios such as INA/SLA joining together before Allawi makes his move become possible simply because they are somewhat less risky than in a context of a single candidate, in theory at least.

  17. Ali said

    Reidar, sorry for the million questions, but what happens if Allawi fails to form a government, meaning not the Kurds or the shia want to ally with him, what would happen then.

  18. Reidar Visser said

    Not a problem Ali, this is meant to be a discussion forum after all. If Allawi fails or is rejected by the partners he is seeking, the others can have a shot at forming their own alliance provided that they band together in a parliamentary kutla that is bigger than that of Allawi, i.e. more than 91 seats. This would probably have to be INA/SLA since it seems unlikely the Kurds would want to go as far as an official merger.

  19. Gösta Grönroos said

    Here’s a take on why Maliki is so adamant in accepting nothing less than having the largest number of chairs in the parliament. Mightn’t it just be that he’d have preferred to negotiate with INA from a position of strength and with more freedom with regard to other partners. If he must merger with INA first, there is less space for manouvering.

  20. bb said

    Hmmmmn. In the old COR the shia parties were 8 seats away from having an absolute majority of the parliament. In this one, combined, they are only 4 seats away. Am not sure this is a good development.

    It appears that the redistribution of the 50 additional seats in the new COR benefited the two shia parties at the expense of the Kurds. The two shia parties hold 49% of the COR up 2% (47% 2005); the Kurds 17.5 down 3.5% (21%).
    Allawi and the Sunni parties stay about the same – 31% (30.5) The remaining % is taken up by the 8 minority seats.

    In terms of relative representation the Kurds are the losers and the shia parties the winners.

  21. Reidar – First of all, hat’s off, your projections were better than mine. To the last I was projecting a 1-2 seat Maliki lead. That said, I’m still going to disagree with the assertion that Allawi’s performance in Shia areas was an improvement. I estimate Allawi won 20 of the 175 seats elected from Shia areas. He essentially united the opposition by winning as many seats as the secular Shia candidates would have won in January 2009 had they all run together (adjusting for differentials in provincial seat allocations). I get an estimate of 19-21 Shia seats for Allawi using your table and subtracting seats from Baghdad and Basra which appear to have been Sunnis.

    From the comments here, I think Allawi’s overall chances are still being significantly overestimated. Since Maliki’s meeting with Talabani on Wednesday there Kurds have been signally strongly that they will support his reelection. Assuming that holds, I think that seals it since I count enough other parties indicating support to get Maliki to 163. Of course, if Allawi can persuade the Kurds to pull back from Maliki, then Maliki is in trouble.

  22. Joel Wing said


    Still believe it’s wishful thinking at this point to consider Allawi being able to do anything with the Kurds. The Kurds are asking for written guarantees on Article 140, oil deals, and want a real role in decision making in the new government. Al-Hadbaa and other Sunni members of Allawi’s list will never agree to Article 140 being implemented. Allawi would threaten to fracture his own list to get the Kurds on board. Not only that but high members of the Kurdish Alliance are making public statements about wanting them, along with Dawa and the Supreme Council to stay in power.

  23. Reidar Visser said

    Joel, rest assured that I am not ignoring the SLA/INA reunification prospect – I am hawkish when it comes to a “second UIA” and used to warn about it at a time when it was unfashionable to do so, i.e. in early 2009 ( ). Nonetheless, I have been somewhat impressed by the sheer amount of dirt the two camps have heaped on each other during their very public disagreements in 2009, and don’t think coming back together is an automatic process.

    As for the idea of Iraqiyya joining with the Kurds, it may well be seen as wishful, but it is in fact a way of thinking that exists in some corners in Iraq. Few are surprised about the pro-Iranian attitudes of Talabani and people in his party like Rawanduzi (who have been in the forefront in highlighting the idea of an alliance with Maliki), but the PUK is getting weaker within the Kurdish alliance and we still don’t know for sure what Barzani wants. Also does not the remarkable elections outcome in Kirkuk change the whole 140 dynamic somewhat? I mean, if the possibility that the Kurds might actually lose a referendum comes on the table, could that not make them more inclined to accept a negotiated solution?

    Kirk, one thing to remember is that Allawi must have won a lot of Shiite votes in Baghdad, otherwise I don’t see how he could have got so strong numbers. I would still prefer to do the January 2009 comparison at the level of percentages, but at any rate I am unable to find more than around 11 seats that were clearly taken by secular parties back then (many of the small parties being local partners of the big Islamist blocs). And that is out of a total of no less than 260 seats south of Baghdad.

  24. Salah said

    Reidar, The Iraqi constitution provides that the largest bloc should form a government, is it the bloc referred to in the constitution has to be a pre-election or post-election bloc, an ambiguity that might be a sticking point over the next few weeks months as the time from new government can be long as five month..

  25. Salah said

    Allawi must have won a lot of Shiite votes in Baghdad,

    He has won support from a broad range of Iraqis for his desire to break from the religious parties that have largely dominated postwar Iraq. His calls for greater political reform aimed at fostering reconciliation between Sunnis and Shiites. Let not forgot Allawi win the majority votes from those outside Iraq (refugees and Iraqi immigrants in the western world) whom they put their support to Allawi, as one Iraqi said:
    “Ayad Allawi is secular, moderate and not extremist. … He is an acceptable figure to most Iraqis, who hope he brings change to Iraq”

  26. Gösta Grönroos said

    A government made up of Allawi, al-Sadr, KDP and some smaller entities (Goran, Bolani) would reflect the tendency of the electorate in these polls. It would also balance different interests in a sensible way. But we need the exact figures of how many seats these different entities will get. 91(Iraqiya, 40?(Sadrists), +25?(KDP), 15?(Goran+Bolani). But I agree that it’ll be an uphill task for Allawi to manage it. In fact, from the point of view of my own preferences, I’m quite pessimistic, and concerned. A sectarian government with a sectarian agenda would by abyssal for the future of the Iraqis.

  27. Reidar Visser said

    Salah, the point you refer to is discussed in the original article at

    Gösta, I agree we need to know exact sub-entity size but so far IHEC has not published the award of seats to specific individuals. Even though we have the final uncertified results allocating the seats to individuals is tricky because the female quota will intervene and not always in predictable ways because some lists simply seem to have too few women on them. I would wait from the final list from IHEC, due in a few days I think.

  28. Salah said

    In the end of 2005 Eric Davis wrote article Strategies for Promoting Democracy in Iraq, he stated:

    The Iraqi nationalist movement had four characteristics. First, the movement was characterized by interethnic cooperation. Iraqi nationalists explicitly rejected sectarian¬ism and instead argued for a unified Iraq in which ethnic background was not a political issue. Second, the movement emphasized associational behavior. This was important because a strong democracy requires that the citizenry be organized. Third, the move¬ment demonstrated a strong desire by Iraqis to communicate beyond their own ethnic groups or geographical regions. This was reflected in the vibrant press that characterized Iraqi society after the so-called Young Turk Revolt of 1908, and also in the expansion of literary and artistic expression after World War I. Finally, the movement was characterized by significant artistic innovation that expanded the boundaries of political and cultural discourse in Iraq and challenged many aspects of tradition.

    He added also:
    The nationalist movement offers what some political scientists have called a “usable democratic legacy.” This legacy is highly significant. First, it demonstrates that, in the modern era as in the past, democratic practices—and the values that support them—are not alien to Iraqi society and traditions. Second, it demonstrates that Iraqis were able to cooperate politically across ethnic lines in the past, so they will be able to do so again in the future. Here the nationalist movement’s legacy can help promote trust among Iraq’s citizenry by offsetting the arguments of those who would manipulate sectarianism in an effort to return Iraq to authoritarian rule by asserting that the nation’s ethnic groups cannot cooperate because they do not share common interests. Third, the legacy can help in still pride among Iraq’s citizens. Pride in country is another important dimen¬sion of democracy, especially if it is tied to an inclusionary political culture and is not chauvinistic in nature.

    We hope this can happen next government and the wining party or “Kutla”

  29. Jason said

    Reidar and others,

    Maliki is simultaneously described in the Western media as secular and religious/sectarian. Can you give an idea which is more accurate?

    And I ask the same question about the new MP’s that will be riding Maliki’s coattails into parliament. Are they religious figures? Technocrats? Chosen by nepotism?

    How would these new MP’s impact a new Shia grand coalition, as compared to the gridlock of the last govt?

  30. Joel Wing said

    I don’t think having a close vote in Tamim will make the Kurds moderate on Kirkuk at all. Instead it will make the Kurds push for promises on Article 140 even more because they don’t want to lose Kirkuk. Nothing the Kurds have said publicly so far shows any moderation on that point either. Again, it is an issue that neither the Kurds nor Sunni members of ALlawi’s list appear to be able to compromise over. Not only that but a lot of Kurdish Alliance members consider al-Hadbaa Baathists and anti-Kurdish.

    My take on the deal making going on and the results:

  31. Joel Wing said

    I forgot to mention that I would support Reidar’s argument that Allawi did better nationally than Maliki. I didn’t compare the results to previous elections, just looked at the seats available. Allawi got 61% of the seats in the four Sunni areas, 35% of the seats in Baghdad, and 14% of the seats in the south. That compares to Maliki who only got 1% in the Sunni provinces, 38% in Baghdad, and 50% in the south.

  32. Reidar Visser said

    Jason, the secularism label mostly has no basis. Maliki’s governors in the provinces have been implementing Islamic laws regarding alcohol, the opening of restaurants during Ramadan and so on. The anti-sectarianism label was well-deserved in 2008 but again became inappropriate when Maliki jumped on the de-Baathification bandwagon.

    Joel, one aspect we tend to forget is that Iraqiyya is now the only non-Kurdish party with any clout in Kirkuk and Nineveh. Maliki and Hakim may say whatever they like but the local population have demonstrated their complete lack of interest. That situation may give Iraqiyya some leverage in negotiations with the Kurds. And again, the Kurds must be asking themselves what would happen in a referendum if Iraqiyya is as strong as it is – they could end up losing…

  33. Joel Wing said

    If your going on Ninewa than there is definately not going to be an alliance between Allawi and the Kurds. It would not be an exaggeration to say that al-hadbaa and the Kurds despise each other in Ninewa and have almost gone to arms against each other in miner incidents. The Kurdish Alliance since the election have named al-hadbaa and pm najafi as being baathists and anti-Kurd.

  34. Reidar Visser said

    I’m just making the point that the Kurds want power-sharing locally in Nineveh. Hadba can give them that as part of a deal. Maliki cannot offer the Kurds anything at the local level because he has zero influence there.

  35. Reidar – I think part of our disagreement is that we are measuring the results from different standards. It if obvious from your comments and others that you are measuring them against their respective claims to be national leaders, wheras I am (perhaps cynically) really viewing them as only concerned with taking power – Maliki, Allawi, Hakim, everyone. By that standard, I think Maliki and the Shia-Kurd tandem wins here – the percentage of seats held by Shia Islamists increases from 47 to 49%, and Maliki goes from winning 4% of seats in 2005 to about 24% in January 2009 to 27% now. The fact that Allawi won more seats in Shia areas than vice versa means nothing in my mind since there are over twice as many Shia as Sunni Arabs. If Maliki can close the deal with Barzani – you are right to point out that so far only Talabani has signed on – then Maliki will be reelected. Yes, violence might increase if Allawi’s Sunni base is excluded, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t going to happen.

    As for the debate over whether the secular Shia improved since Jan. 2009, I’ll grant that my inclusion of Habubi and Wutut may have skewed that somewhat, but that was my pre-election benchmark to just to be consistent. And I agree that Allawi seems to have won some extra Shia votes in Baghdad, but I still think most of that came from (1) Sunni participation generally being higher and (2) Sunni Baghdadis being excluded from the Jan. 2009 vote. When making comparisons, we shouldn’t forget that a disproprotionate number of Sunni Arabs were excluded then because of the different electoral rules on refugees.

    “Kirk, one thing to remember is that Allawi must have won a lot of Shiite votes in Baghdad…”

  36. Ikenna said

    “That situation may give Iraqiyya some leverage in negotiations with the Kurds. And again, the Kurds must be asking themselves what would happen in a referendum if Iraqiyya is as strong as it is – they could end up losing…”

    Doubtful. The voter strength for Gorran and the Kurdish religious parties, while perhaps not enough to elect parliamentary representatives in Kirkuk, should show the Kurds they have the numerical strength to win any referendum. I can see however how the local strength of Iraqiya would be disconcerting to the Kurds however. Still, last year’s local election results should have given the Kurds a pretty fair understanding of their relative numerical strength at the polls.

  37. Reidar Visser said

    Ikenna, the idea of a close-call referendum is not so far-fetched. If you summarise the four major Kurdish lists in Kirkuk in the final results they get around 274,500. The non-Kurdish lists are in fact slightly higher, at around 278,000.

  38. Gudrun from Vienna said

    Hello Reidar,

    thank you for all the useful information and analysis, and thanks to all the others who contribute…

    question: if the Accountability and Justice now eliminates elected candidates – will the votes they gained stay with their group? Maliki’s remark on Friday evenins sounded like he expected to get some of these votes?

    second question: can you really imagine Allawi making a coalition with Ina? Some of the people who voted for him would be very upset!

  39. Reidar Visser said

    Gudrun, post-election annulment under the open-list system is particularly problematic. If a decision is made to exclude these candidates, the least bad option would be to award the seats to someone else on the list, in the same way that seats are awarded to female candidates within the same list if the female quotas are not fulfilled automatically. To cancel the votes and effectively give the seats to another list would be outrageous since in practice it would disenfranchise parts of the electorate. The process could no longer be described as democratic.

    INA/INM is always going to be problematic for ideological reasons. But it is a scenario that has stayed on the agenda ever since last autumn because of the shared antipathy against Malii. INM and the Sadrists would make more sense on a number of key constitutional issues and is now more likely given the pre-eminence of the Sadrists within INA. It is noteworty that there have been several postive public comments about Allawi by Sadrist leaders over the past few days.

  40. Kermanshahi said

    I have been following this website throughout the Iraqi elections, it seems you have more information than I have. Can you tell me where I can find the actual vote results? Not the seats but the amounth of actual votes these lists recieved per governorate?

    As for the election results, I believe a State of Law-NIA-Listi Kurdistan government will be the most likely. Both the religious Shi’a parties and the Kurds prefer Maliki over Allawi.

  41. Reidar Visser said

    The final uncertified results are here:
    Note, however, that these results cannot be used to extrapolate the winning candidates at the individual level with 100 percent certainty, because the female quota will interfere in ways that may be difficult to predict in some cases (too few female candidates in total on some lists etc.) The lists of winning candidates are gradually coming through but this is apparently done by the individual IHEC offices in the 18 provinces and the process is therefore somewhat slow.

  42. Anne said

    Dear Reidar,
    Thanks for your excellent coverage. I wonder if you have the answer to two questions?
    Looking at the uncertified results for Baghdad (and forgetting about the female quota for a minute), there seems to be a pretty high level of voter preference over-riding the coalition’s list ordering (eg only around half of the big three lists candidates would have been elected anyway, based on sorting their results numerically – the remaining half have been promoted from further down the list). How do you think this will affect the post-election coalition-forming (in the sense that the coalition leaders may be dealing with parliamentary blocs where large numbers of MPs feel they owe their seats less to the list, and more to the strength of their personal vote – and thus may be more inclined to jump ship?)

    Secondly, maybe the above is irrelevant because of the female quota – is it another opportunity for list leaders to override what the voters wanted? How does it operate (particularly if there weren’t enough women candidates on the list in the first place?

  43. Ali said

    Hi Reidar, what is the development so far, is it now obvious that Allawi will be tasked to form the government, or is it still unclear and its too early?

  44. Jason said

    Now there are reports of Maliki arresting political opponents. I had hoped that his participation in the de-Baathification measures before the election were election theater that would go away after the votes were cast. It would appear I was wrong. I am steadily losing confidence in Maliki.

  45. Reidar Visser said

    Ali, I don’t think much will happen until the results are certified at least. Right now, there are several processes that are going on that may delay the whole process. Firstly, there are the calls by Maliki for a recount. Secondly, there are the demands by the accountability and justice commission to exclude some Iraqiyya replacement candidates and cancel their votes, which Maliki now sees as an opportunity (even though he was trying to get rid of the whole AJ committee earlier=… He may be hoping that either of these avenues may give him the necessary seats (or at least take some from Iraqiyya) and enable him to have the biggest bloc without any further coalition-forming. Hence, it seems likely that he will want to exhaust those option before taking the bitter pill that is an an alliance with INA. He probably knows that a merger with INA will mean no second premiership for him, which would be ironic since most SLA votes were probably personal votes for him rather than votes for the Daawa party.

    Anne, you’re right, the electorate has used the open-list system actively, as it did in the last local elections as well. Some governorate lists have been published now but not all of them appear to have been adjusted for the female quota so it is probably best to wait with evaluating the exact outcome until tomorrow (when, according to Faraj al-Haydari, the newspapers will carry the full lists of individual winners). Back to your question, I do agree that the “revolution from below” within many of the lists (particularly inside INA, of course, but also evident in some other lists at least in some governorates) will set the stage for coalition negotiations that are more difficult to predict. Typically, until all the names have been published, the old elite of 2005 will continue to lead the negotiations, but at some point the participants in those negotiations will discover that other personalities are in fact more influential. As for the female quota, this is a case where two potentially progressive mechanisms – the quota and the open list – collide. In the last local elections, non-winning female candidates with very few votes were systematically promoted in the final result at the expense of male candidates that were genuinely popular among the electorate (as reflected in their personal votes). In that sense, the female quota became a weapon for the establishment against challenges from below – in some cases it was rumoured that the female candidates in question had not even been asked to be on the list!

  46. Anne said

    “He probably knows that a merger with INA will mean no second premiership for him, which would be ironic since most SLA votes were probably personal votes for him rather than votes for the Daawa party.”

    Indeed – nearly 623,000 votes for him as C1 on the Baghdad list. Allawi doesn’t do badly on this score either (407,500), but it is striking how enormous the gap is between Maliki and the other best scoring candidates on his list in Baghdad (the next highest polled just short of 29,000 votes).

  47. Ali said

    If Maliki or INA use the debaathification to give Allawi the second place, that would be gangsterism an would seriously destabilise the situation, however if they use the recount and it proves to be wrong then thats fair.

    Gos knows when the next government will be formed

  48. Kermanshahi said

    Seems Jaafari faired pretty badly in the candidate results, coming 4th place, after Maliki, Allawi and Hashemi. But give it another 5 years and I think religious parties will become more populair again, it’s a temporory trend.

  49. Gösta Grönroos said

    Concerning the prospect of disqualification of (at least three) elected Iraqiya candidates by the Accountability and Justice Commission: why would Chalabi want to benefit SOL by making it the biggest group in parliament, and hence make the SOL/INA merger less inevitable for al-Maliki?

    I noticed Reidar’s reply to a question about replacements of disqualified candidates, but it is still no clear to me what the constitution regulates in this regard. Perhaps nothing specific.

  50. Reidar Visser said

    Gösta, rest assured that none of this is in the constitution, let alone in any law. They are making it up. Possibly Lami wants to be consistent, since excluding the replacement candidates is something he promised prior to the election. If they’re replaced by someone else from the same list then he has at least succeeded in playing the sectarian card.

  51. Gösta Grönroos said

    Thanks Reidar, makes sense. With Chalabi, of course, you never know. He will probably try to turn up on whatever platform he thinks promotes his position. But I suspect he is losing footing althogether.

  52. bb said

    Reidar – what kind of personal vote did Chalabi get in Baghdad?

    Re: not replaceing de-Baathed candidates – they may try it on, but it is hard to imagine they could pull it off. In PR you replace; in first past post you have a by-election. If they try it, will be a good test case for the independence of the Iraqi court.

  53. zahra said

    Dear Reider,
    It looks like Iraqiyya would you like to rely on the same constitutional “invention” as you described it, despite the fact that when sami alaskary mentioned it in an interview, they strongly refuted…

    Najafi said: “Anyone who says we do not have a claim to the prime minister’s office is behaving in a clearly sectarian way. It is in the constitution that the victor has the right to form a government.

    Allawi and Hashimi have bothed emphasised this point on different occasions too. looks like everyone in the business of making it up as they go along.

    On a different note, i find it very frustrating that the debaathification debacle is still ongoing. But do you know anything about Dabagh’s statement that the IHEC took away the votes of the SLA candidate that was debaathified and that’s why they’re demanding that the same be done to Iraqiyya’s candidates?

    on yet another different note, have you tried doing the seat allocations for yourself or have u relied on the IHEC’s? I tried out baghdad, and I’m coming up with 1 seat less for INA and one more for SLA, so I’m a bit confused…

  54. Mohammed said

    Dear Reidar:

    Thanks for your informative posts. I think the big worry Shi’ites have in Iraq is that Allawi is just a “Trojan Horse” for getting the Ba’ath party back in power.

    I am all for separating between religion and state. I am a religious person, and I pray five times a day, and don’t drink alcohol. But, I don’t want the government to force me to pray, ban the mixing of genders, or force my female relatives to wear head scarves (eventhough I fully endorse a woman’s right to CHOOSE to wear hijab). Secularism is just fine, but it should not be to the point where Saddam banned Shiites from their rituals, or selling their books, or forcing certain versions of religious history down the throats of elementary school students. However, people like me in Iraq are in the small, small minority. Unfortunately, Ba’athism is the strongest secular movement in Iraq because Saddam and his thugs did not believe in a multi-party system, and eliminated such people.

    I despise Ba’athists for what they did to Iraq. Unfortunately, Allawi has surrounded himself with many people who at best can be seen as Ba’athist sympathizers, if not outright Ba’athists. You asked before about why former Shia baa’thists from the south have been deemed trust-worthy enough to occupy military and government jobs, and sunnis have not? I agree with you that preferring Shia over sunnis is sectarian and unjust. However, personally speaking, before I would ever accept a former Ba’athist for assuming a position of influence, I demand two conditions be fulfilled: 1) He or she could not have been directly responsible for the murder of innocent iraqi civilians, and 2) Any applicant would have to be willing to publicly denounce the Ba’ath party and Saddam, and recognize the crimes against the Iraqi people. Whether or not Saleh Mutlaq is a Ba’athist by name, there are plenty of youtube videos that show him saying the Ba’aath party is the best party to have ruled Iraq. I have very little sympathy for people who want to assume power and praise the Ba’ath party. This would be akin to post-world war II germany allowing pro-hitler or pro-nazi politicians in the government. The Ba’athist campaign of genocide against the Kurds and Shia was a modern holocaust for Iraq. According to the wikipedia: “the European Union has issued a directive to combat racism and xenophobia, which makes provision for member states criminalising Holocaust denial, with a maximum prison sentence of between one and three years.” Why should Iraq allow such Iraqi holocaust deniers to serve in the government?

    Thus, I don’t mind at all that Allawi is a secular person. But, who is Allawi likely to put in positions of power in the interior ministry, intelligence services, defense department, and senior military? Are they people who will defend democracy or usurp the rights of the Iraq people? Unfortunately, there are many in Allawi’s camp who believe Iraq should be the playground of the sunnis, and shia are not even really Iraqis. If Allawi would appoint a religious shiite to be defense minister, a secular shiite to be head of the air force, a religious sunni to be interior minister, a secular sunni to military chief of staff, and a kurd to be chief of intelligence, etc..I would be happy, and proud of Iraq. If all the above were Ba’athist sympatizers (irrespective of their sect), then the misery the Iraq people have gone through to get to this point would be all for naught. If the Ba’ath party were to resume control, it would not rule by democracy like in this past election, but by tanks and helicopters, and the election of 2010 would be the last election.

    With all of Al-Maliki’s imperfections, I can at least say that the rights of the sunnis to vote and be heard has been protected. If he uses constitutional means so that Allawi does not become prime minister, it does not mean sunni rights have been taken. They will still have a 25% representation in the parliament, and surely several ministries. It is rather bizarre for sunnis to insist that their candidate has to be prime minister or else they will resort to violence. The will of the majority should prevail, but the majority should not be tyrants over the minority. It is not about sunni or shi’ite for me. I would be far happier having a hindu or jewish prime minister for Iraq who protects the rights of every iraqi than a sunni or shiite dictator.

    I am sure that there are corrupt people in Maliki’s government. But, when Allawi was prime minister, his defense chief (Hazem Shalan) embezzled a billion dollars for the purpose of buying rusty eastern European military equipment and fled the country. Are these the kind of people he wants to be Iraq’s leaders? I am not accusing Allawi with guilt by association, but I expect him to be wiser in his choices in the future, otherwise, Iraq cannot afford his mistakes.

    I am sorry to take so much of your time with my questions and comments. But I think my worries represent the views of a large sector of Iraq society. Perhaps it can be paranoia, but we cannot risk a repeat of Ba’athism in Iraq. If Allawi would prevent un-rehabilitated, unrepentant Ba’athists from assuming the reigns of control, then I would have no problem with him. I just do not want to gamble with the precious freedoms of the Iraqi people. What party is the riskier gamble?

  55. Reidar Visser said

    Bb, Chalabi came in as number 8 in Baghdad, around 20,000 votes. He was number 3 on the original list but was eventually outperformed by several Sadrists.

    Zahra, I disagree with both Maliki and Nujayfi when they assert that the other interpretation is “unconstitutional”. The constitution is vague, at best, and the ruling of the court was perfectly predictable. That does not mean that I think such a heavy emphasis on post-election coalition-forming is a good idea for Iraqi democracy. One of the big problems compared with other democracies was that the Iraqi parties were virtually silent on who they wanted to cooperate with during the (scandalously short) “campaign”. In that situation, lots of horse-trading after the elections does undermine the voice of the electorate.

    To your other questions, as far as I can see Abbud Wahid did not appear on the ballot at all (in contrast to the disputed Iraqiyya representatives). Maybe that’s what Daawa supporters meant by “stealing his votes”, but it is apparently not a true parallel. The figures I gave were the IHEC calculations. I’ll redo them when I have the time, but it seems INA grew slightly more than SLA in the final 10% of the vote (10% instead of 9% for SLA).

    Mohammed, the problem is, your concerns have to be reflected in laws that enable Iraqi politicians to understand what the rules of the game are. You demand a public denounciation; maybe your friend in Basra wants a slightly different approach? Maybe there are a thousand other ways of expressing worries about the Baath? My main point throughout is that you cannot make up the rules as you go, no matter how legitimate your concerns are.

  56. Reidar Visser said

    Zahra, the case of Abbud Wahid is more remarkable than I thought. I was using the 96% count when I answered your query because that was what I had available, and in it candidate 10 (Abbud Wahid) is simply omitted. So I concluded he couldn’t have been on the ballot. But I noticed afterwards that he had indeed been awarded a seat, and I checked in the 100% count, where he suddenly had 17,000 votes! So it appears a decision has been taken to validate his vote some time during the past week. It is noteworthy that one of the disputed replacement candidates, Ibrahim al-Mutlak, appears both in the 96% and in the 100% count.

  57. Ali Wasati said

    I have speaking to a lot of family and friends in Iraq and they are not worried about Allawi, because they dont think he will be able to form the government. I spoke to people from Karbala and they said that there would a serious threat to the central government in Iraq if Allawi comes to power. It seems the supporters of both SLA and INA dont seem to think Allawi is going to take the Prime Minister role.

  58. Ali Wasati said

    Reidar, according to Aswat Al Iraq in Arabic, the names of the winners have been released for 10 governates. Including the names for each of the four major parties.

  59. Reidar Visser said

    Ali, rest assured that I’ve got them, but I am busy with something else right now and it will take a while before I have finished analysing them. Meanwhile, I wondered whether your contacts specified what kind of “serious threat to the central government” they had in mind?

  60. Ali Wasati said

    Reidar, they said that they will cause mass strikes and loosen its ties with central government, I really hope this does not happen. I know many people in government, (most of them come from North west London) and they say the streets are very angry.

    I jsut hope Allawi can avoid this by promising the shia that Baathis would not return and giving the shia sensitive positions such as th intelligence service and Interior, thats all I can think of that would calm things down.

  61. Mohammed said

    Hi Reidar:

    I fully agree that there should be a systematic, consistent law regarding Ba’athism. Let us not forget that my concerns are already spelled out in the Iraqi constitution which is the supreme law of the land:

    “No entity or program, under any name, may adopt racism, terrorism, the calling of others infidels, ethnic cleansing, or incite, facilitate, glorify, promote, or justify thereto, especially the Saddamist Baath in Iraq and its symbols, regardless of the name that it adopts. This may not be part of the political pluralism in Iraq. This will be organized by law.”

    A just system to impliment this should be part of Iraq’s reconciliation process.

  62. Reidar Visser said

    Sure, but that law called for by the constitution hasn’t been passed yet which makes it impossible to do de-Baathification on the basis of tamjid/glorification alone.

  63. Zahra said

    Please ignore the previous post because of typing errors

    Dear Reider,

    I agree that the emphasis on post-election coalition forming is problematic from a democratic point of view, given the electorate cannot influence this and many will be frustrated by mergers with INA (from both the INM and SLA camps!)

    But what I find equally disturbing is the way that the issue is being raised. Najafi’s assertion that anyone who reads the constitution differently is ‘behaving in a clearly sectarian way’ is rediculous. Just becuase he represents a minority, that doesn’t mean that everyone who disagrees with him is sectarian!

  64. Reidar comment 55:
    I think the court’s interpretation regarding post-election coalition forming is even more serious than making the rules as we go. The decision came only four days after the official submission and one day before declaring the initial results of the elections. The court behaved as if there was no election going on and yealded to the political wish of Maliki; the issue here is the politicization of the decisions of the Iraqi Supreme Constitutional Court which threatens the political process. The main party to blame is the court. My own blog entry is at:

  65. Ameen said

    Hi Reidar, too soon for Baathists to come back into power that’s how the Shias and the Kurds will be thinking. How can they even think about allowing people like associated with the likes of Thafir al-Ani back into power, people who even before these elections were praising Saddam Hussein and the Baathists.

  66. Reidar Visser said

    Ameen, forgive me, but why are you thinking of this *now*? I mean, Iraqis have had 4 years to prepare for these elections, including long debates on de-Baathification and election laws. Do you not realise what it does to the concept of democracy to change the rules of the game in the middle of the stream?

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