Middle East

Iraq PM's coalition emerges as strongest force in local vote

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki speaks during Convergence of religions conference in Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, April 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

BAGHDAD: Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's coalition came top in provincial elections two weeks ago, results released on Saturday showed, but failed to win a majority in any district, meaning it will need alliances to hold onto senior provincial posts.

Maliki's State of Law won the most seats in seven out of 12 provinces, in a vote that was the biggest test of Iraqi democracy since U.S. troops pulled out in December 2011.

Iraqi politics are deeply split along sectarian lines, with Maliki's power-sharing government mired in crisis over how to share power among Shi'ites, Sunni Muslims and ethnic Kurds who run their own autonomous region in the north.

"Ahead of the 2014 elections, the results signal to the blocs that pursuing a majoritarian government approach is difficult to bear fruit," said Ahmed Ali, an Iraq analyst at the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War.

"Coalition building remains a main characteristic of forming governments in Iraq."

Iraqiya, a secular but Sunni-dominated bloc that posed a serious challenge to the Shi'ite Maliki in 2010 parliamentary elections, won no more than three seats in any province, according to figures released by Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission.

Months of Sunni unrest have come to a head since security forces raided a protest camp on April 23, three days after the provincial elections. Clashes swiftly spread to other Sunni areas, pushing the monthly civilian death count to 712, the highest since 2009, according to the United Nations.

Civil war in Syria is fanning Sunni-Shi'ite rivalry across the Middle East, exacerbating tensions in Iraq. Under late dictator Saddam Hussein, the minority Sunnis were politically dominant, but now they complain of being marginalised.

Maliki's State of Law received the most votes in the capital Baghdad, where it took 20 of the 58 available seats.

Voting in two Sunni-majority provinces was put off until July due to concerns about security, a delay criticised by the United States. The cabinet said the date could be postponed again unless the situation improved.

The Kurdistan region has its own timetable for provincial elections in its three governorates.

 

Recommended





Advertisement

Comments

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

Alert: If you are facing problems with posting comments, please note that you must verify your email with Disqus prior to posting a comment. follow this link to make sure your account meets the requirements. (http://bit.ly/vDisqus)

comments powered by Disqus

Advertisement

FOLLOW THIS ARTICLE

Interested in knowing more about this story?

Click here