Following the lottery yesterday in which participants in the 30 April parliamentary elections were given ticket numbers, the Iraqi election commission has released an official list that also provides the first official overview of coalition and entities that will take part in the election. It is noteworthy that although the deadline for forming coalitions expired late last year, IHEC has so far refrained from publishing a list of the constituent elements of the various coalitions. One reason may be that the process of certification of entities continued well into 2014, with constant updates to the official list of individual entities. This means that there is still no official source that can be used for evaluating the potential strength of the various coalitions, but the most recent list is at least helpful in that it authoritatively distinguishes between coalitions and entities that will run on their own, ending some of the speculation as regards the choices of some of the smaller parties.
The key statistics of the new list are as follows. Altogether 107 lists will take part in the 30 April parliamentary elections. Of these, 36 will be coalitions. A maximum of 71 entities will run on their own.
All the main coalitions are well known. With respect to Shiite Islamists, the following main groups are defined as coalitions: State of Law, Muwatin (mainly ISCI), Ahrar (Sadrists), Islah (Jaafari) and Fadila (with some lesser known smaller parties). Smaller “coalitions” include list 238 which is organized by Sabah al-Saadi, an ex-Fadila MP known for his ferocious verbal attacks on Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. There are also what seem to be pan-Shiite lists in some of the northern governorates, with some uncertainty as to exactly who among the main Shiite parties are enrolled in them. This certainly applies to Nineveh (list 227) but also list 222 and/or 249 (Salahadddin). Towards the secular end of the Shiite spectrum, there is a coalition list (228) headed by Wail Abd al-Latif, a well known Basra federalist. Regarding the controversial question of the participation of the Sadrist breakaway (now pro-Maliki) group known as the League of the Righteous, some rumours suggest they will not run as a single list but rather enter as candidates on separate pro-Maliki lists. Analysis of this must await publication of the candidate lists.
As for the Sunni and secular forces that formed Iraqiyya in the last elections, they are now split in at least three main coalitions: Mutahiddun (Nujayfi), Wataniya (Allawi) and Arabiyya (Mutlak). Noteworthy is the all-Iraqiyya list in Diyala (246), which in this context smells something like a Sunni sectarian equivalent of pan-Shiite lists seen in Shiite-minority areas in the local elections last year. There is also a Sunni-secular list in Kirkuk (242), calling itself the Coalition of Kirkuk Arabs. Press reports claim Nujayfi will run only in six governorates (as list 259 in Nineveh, Salahaddin, Baghdad and Anbar; on pan-Sunni lists in Diyala and Kirkuk). If true, this means Nujayfi’s party has given up some of the pan-Iraqi spirit seen in the last local elections, when it also ran lists in some places in the south, notably in Basra. The implication is inevitably a more Sunni, sectarian outlook. Rump Iraqiyya in the shape of Ayyad Allawi’s Wataniyya list may be on the defensive if the last local elections are anything to go by, and the only other remaining major pan-Iraqi, secular coalition in the running is the alliance of communists and other minor secular groups (232).
The main Kurdish coalition list is apparently number 210. There is also a special Kurdish list in Baghdad (203). Confusion remains regarding the exact structure of the Kurdish electoral effort because unlike the other parties, the Kurds continue to list their individual parties as electoral lists alongside their coalition.
As for the parties that run individually, they are mainly the smaller ones. Among them the Sunni islamist Islamic Iraqi Party stands out (263). The list is also helpful in ending some of the speculation regarding various Shiite Islamist parties whose coalition allegiances were in doubt. The party of Shirwan al-Waeli, formerly with State of Law, is still listed separately (284), as are those of Haytham al-Jibburi (230) and Saad al-Mutallabi (240). Conversely, there are no signs of parties registered in the names of people like Ali Fayyad, Ali al-Dabbagh, Adnan al-Shahmani, Amir al-Fayiz (Basra Shaykhis) and Abd al-Karim al-Muhammadawi (aka Lord of the Marshes), meaning they have likely opted out or have joined a coalition.
A fuller picture will emerge when candidate lists are ready in February/March. Before that, the potentially controversial process of candidate verification – including de-Baathification measures – will take place.