Iraq and Gulf Analysis

Iraqiyya Loses a Seat in Diyala, and Probably Keeps It

Posted by Reidar Visser on Wednesday, 28 April 2010 18:30

Lists of the 52 de-Baathified candidates have now begun circulating and it has been confirmed that in addition to Ibrahim al-Mutlak, the replacement candidate for Salih al-Mutlak in Baghdad, another member of Iraqiyya originally from the Hiwar bloc, Raad Hamid Kazim Awwad al-Bayati, candidate number 7 in Diyala, has been subjected to the de-Baathification ruling.

With respect to Mutlak, it seems futile to try to recalculate Baghdad in a detailed way given the high number of candidates and the recount that is underway. However, Mutlak only accounts for some 5,700 of the 841,700 votes of Iraqiyya in Baghdad and their non-winning candidates there have low personal scores so it does not matter much if some of them may be among the 52 – the exclusion of Mutlak’s votes in itself seems unlikely to change the total seats for Iraqiyya . That said, of course, this is still theft of votes of the most brazen and outrageous kind.

Much the same can be said in Diyala, although here the race is closer and it may be worth trying a recalculation. The excluded candidate for Iraqiyya got 11,991 personal votes which is quite substantial, but apparently, based on a very hasty check, no more INM candidates here are among the 52. So total votes in the governorate is reduced to around 490,905 and the electoral divider is adjusted from 38,684 to around 37,761 (depending, of course on the exclusion of non-winning candidates, which however are likely to produce smaller changes). Still, however, the initial allocation is the same: 1 seat for INA, 6 for INM, 1 for SLA, 1 for KA. Then in the second allocation, the INM share of the votes is slightly reduced from 55% to 54% but still sufficient to ensure 2 seats in the second allocation, thus ending up with 8 seats as was the case before the subtraction of the votes for Raad al-Bayati.

In sum, Diyala might be an example of the de-Baathification process creating lots of ill feeling and long delays, but maybe not so much in the way of a changed parliamentary arithmetic.

PS It should be added that the way comments from Ali al-Lami have been juxtaposed to the names of the 52 candidates in some press reports may have created the impression that 8 or 9 Iraqiyya candidates are confirmed as having lost their seats. This is not the case; Lami apparently refers to a separate batch of exclusion orders submitted on top of the 52 others (which he hopes to exclude) and the outcome of this has apparently not been decided by the electoral judicial board.  Though one wonders why Mr. Lami can never seem to get his business done by way of a single dispatch.

22 Responses to “Iraqiyya Loses a Seat in Diyala, and Probably Keeps It”

  1. Jason said

    Has anyone considered taking al Lami out behind the building and putting him out of our misery?

  2. JWing said

    Reidar said:
    “Though one wonders why Mr. Lami can never seem to get his business done by way of a single dispatch.”

    Just on that technical point, from what I’ve read the 50+ candidates were banned before the election, but the Election Commission let them run anyway. Little dispute about why that happened. The 9 other candidates that won in the election and are going to have their fates determined soon were checked and banned after the vote.

  3. Reidar Visser said

    I can understand one round for the candidates and one round for replacements but what I am asking is why he didn’t notify IHEC about those 9 others at the same time with the 52 banned replacement candidates…

  4. Reidar,
    My theory of pokes is a possible explanation: each batch is a poke to test reactions and to see what Lami can get away with. If no intolerable cries of pain are heard then we should expect more pokes.

  5. JWing said


    Again, this is just my reading of the press reports.

    The A&J Com. said the 50+ were banned before the election, but the Election Commission let them run.

    Then right after the voting but before the results were announced the A&J Com. again said that they were appealing the 50 and that they might still get banned.

    Then they finally said the 50 had gone through whatever process exists and that they had been banned and should’ve never run in the first place.

    Same day the A&J Com. said that there were 9 additional candidates that they had investigated and that the court was going to rule on their fate the next day.

    The court then postponed their decision on the 9 for a week.

  6. Jason said

    He is a one-man wrecking crew, being allowed to run the election straight off the rails, and potentially the entire country off a cliff, while Iraqis and other world leaders stand by and wring their hands. His dictates are completely arbitrary and capricious, with not even a feigned measure of due process. It would be a terrible slapstick comedy if the results were not potentially deadly. The entire affair is a national disgrace. Why don’t serious, patriotic Iraqis of all blocks step up and take responsibility to shut him down immediately. He should be arrested for crimes of manipulating the election and undermining the democracy and hanged.

  7. Jason said

    Seriously, even assuming there was some merit in banning individual candidates, how can one justify banning actual votes except as an act of naked, raw abuse of power to manipulate the election results?

  8. Mohammed said

    Dear Reidar:

    All of these latest turns are unlikely to make any substantial changes in the results of the elections. The recount and disqualifications may give Maliki the lead, but as you point out, this is not going to give him the majority. In the end, a deal between the blocks is going to have to be made.

    My question is: what is the likely end game here? In my read of the Iraqi constitution, there does not seem to be a mechanism to ensure a prime minister and president are finalized. Politically, this of course cannot go one forever. However, are there any constitutional mechanisms that can move the process forward?

    I think the latest calls by Allawi for the formation of an internationally-monitored caretaker government are not serious. Can the president call for new elections? If there was another vote, I very much doubt that there would be a big change in the results either.

    Your insight would greatly be appreciated.

  9. Reidar Visser said

    Mohammed, unfortunately the constitution only stipulates a single scenario of government formation and everything is predicated on the hope that the deadlines will be adhered to. I personally find the idea of ad hoc solutions of “caretaker governments” to be unhelpful simply because it seems better to try to stick to those procedures that have already been adopted constitutionally. Where Iraqiyya clearly has a point, though, is with respect to the constant attempts to change the result through de-Baathification and additional recounts (Nineveh and Kirkuk) which seem to go on despite all legal limits and deadlines having passed long ago. This is where there is a chance for the international community to do something and draw a line, since IHEC needs its help to do the Baghdad recount. As a precondition for doing the Baghdad recount UNAMI should set as a precondition that there will be no further recounts and no further exclusions, otherwise the whole process becomes farcical. This is not undue interference: The international community is sponsoring the Iraqi democratic process and has the right to participate in a conversation about the quality of that process, espeially when it seems to be on the verge of derailment as the case is today.

  10. Salah said

    Well done now who are the Ba’athiests

    وخلال مقابلة أجريت معه مساء الاثنين من قبل محطة «العراقية» التلفزيونية المملوكة للدولة، نفى المالكي ادعاءات التعذيب، وقلل من أهمية الأمر وعمد إلى النأي بنفسه عنه. ووصف ادعاءات التعذيب بأنها «أكاذيب» و«حملة تشويه» نظمتها سفارات أجنبية ووسائل إعلام ويعمد خصومه السياسيون إلى تأجيجها. وقال «ليست هناك أي سجون سرية في العراق مطلقا».

  11. Salah said

    Mr. Lami can never seem to get his business done by way of a single dispatch.”

    May be from now he will do…

    طالب نائب رئيس الجمهورية طارق الهاشمي في رسالة بعثها الى رئيس الجمهورية جلال الطلباني ونائب رئيس الجمهورية عادل عبد المهدي بعقد اجتماع لمجلس الرئاسة للنظر في الوضع السياسي الخطير الناتج عن قرارات المساءلة والعدالة التي وصفها بغير الدستورية

    و دعا الهاشمي في رسالته الى اجتماع عاجل لمجلس الرئاسة من اجل اتخاذ الاجراءات اللازمة في اطار الصلاحيات الدستورية للمجلس من اجل تدارك التدهور السياسي الحاصل والذي ينعكس على امن واستقرار العراق .

    وجاء في رسالة الهاشمي : ( ” الامر يتطلب موقفا حازما وواضحا في ضوء المادة 67 من الدستور يتصدى للقرارات غير الدستورية وغير القانونية التي اصدرتها او تنوي اصدارها هيئة المساءلة والعدالة في بيان رسمي يصدره المجلس على عجل بعد ان تأكد للجميع ان مثل هذه القرارات اصبحت مصدر ارباك وقلق للجميع وان الهيئة تجاوزت كل الحدود) ” .

    وكان نائب رئيس الجمهورية قد اكد، في تصريحات صحفية، الأربعاء، انه سيتبنى دعوة عاجلة لمجلس الرئاسة بصفته الحامي لوحدة العراق والساهر على تطبيق الدستور، موضحا انه وبحسب ذلك فان المجلس يجب ان يكون عينا راصدة لما يصدر عن الهيئات المستقلة من تشريعات وقرارات كهيئة المساءلة والعدالة.

  12. The Iraqyya project for a caretaker government has a lot in common with a project I called the Cairo memorandum in March 2008.
    I also think it is not serious because it would cost too much in military and economic terms, but what bothers me most is the loss of sovereignity implied in a Security Council mandate with UN appointed caretaker government.
    On the other hand, no offence Reidar, I think we are past the stage of getting gentleman’s promises, Maliki interprets the constitution because he is PM. Unless the whole Independence of the electoral process is guaranteed by the UN, it is up to him to abuse the system.

  13. JWing said

    My take on the re-count/deBaathification process that is currently going on:

    In the end neither will change the political situation. No party has the seats to form a government so after these two events are over all the parties will be back to square one in needing to form a coalition, which will most likely be another dysfunctional national unity government. These moves are meant to put Allawi in his place, and Maliki thinks the re-count will give him the upper hand in negotiations with the others. Allawi’s list will be in the government but it will be a junior partner. The problem as before,is that neither Allawi nor Maliki is likely to become prime minister because both have too many opponents, but they won’t step out of the way, so the process just gets dragged on and on and on.

  14. Salah said

    Hamid Kazim Awwad al-Bayati, candidate number 7 in Diyala

    Is he the same guy?

    Hamdi Najm, leader of the National Dialogue Front in Diyala Province, who is currently in prison on terrorism charges. His party forms part of the Iraqiya list of Iyad Allawi. The disqualifications will be taken to court. But the courts sided with the Justice and Accountability Commission when it excluded candidates on these grounds in the lead-up to the election, so that avenue does not appear very promising.

  15. Salah said

    Oops the link

  16. Reidar Visser said

    Salah, no it is not the same person. I trust the papers from the electoral judicial board more than quotes from Lami at a press conference.

    Lami is talking about حمدي نجم
    The de-Baathified Iraqiyya candidate is رعد حميد كاظم
    There is an Iraqiyya candidate and seat winner for Hiwar in Diyala called نجم عبدالله احمد حمادة
    but he is not listed in either list (i.e. not among the 52 and not among the additional 8 covered in today’s post).

  17. Xenophon said

    With respect to Maliki’s endgame:

    Is it possible that Maliki is attempting to get enough additional seats (up to say 95-100) so that an “initial” government could be formed between SoL, all the Kurdish parties, the minorities and perhaps Tawafuq (though it seems unlikely that Tawafuq would oppose all the rest of the Sunnis in the current environment) and/or Iraq Unity (though I thought I saw something about them possibly joining Iraqiya)? Such a move could potentially cobble together a shade over 163 seats and a bare majority. Not politically viable over the long term, but once entrenched in his new “government”, Maliki could concentrate on splitting away elements from INA or Iraqiya (especially ISCI/Badr) and put together a more workable long-term political arrangement. As part of the deal, of course, Kurds retain the presidency.

  18. Reidar Visser said

    Yeah, that is a scenario pretty much in line with this one:
    Both Iraqiyya and SLA appear to be fighting over the Unity of Iraq bloc, but there are more reports suggesting rapprochement with SLA than with Iraqiyya.

  19. Rifat said

    So what’s the total number of ELECTED Iraqiyah candidates that could potentially be banned and have their votes anulled Reidar?

  20. Reidar Visser said

    With the latest round of exclusions (see today’s post) we’re left with 9 confirmed Iraqiyya candidates losing their individual seats and having their votes annulled, but the net loss for Iraqiyya in the recalculation is probably no more than one seat (note however that one of the supposed eight excluded ones in the last batch has not been named).

  21. Rifat said

    Interesting, so if the maximum Iraqiyah loses is 1 seat overall the question is why would Lami and co go through this and at the same time how could it be contended that this is some sort of ploy to marginalise Iraqiyah?

  22. Reidar Visser said

    Based on a rough calculation. As said before, I think the plot is not so much about seats as it is about poisoning the atmosphere of negotiations more generally and perhaps drag Maliki into a more sectarian corner. In a bewildering development, there is even news today that Lami may have withdrawn the complaint that was used alongside the complaint by State of Law to exclude 52 candidates. This move, which seems dubious after a decision to sustain the complaint has already been reached, would leave Maliki as the “culprit” in the case of the 52 exclusions that have no effect on the seats, whereas the 8 exclusions Lami introduced on his own may change the distribution slightly.

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