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2010 Parliamentary Elections

Iyad al-ALLAWI Iraqi National Movement 892,849,61224.72%
Nouri al-MALIKI State of Law Coalition872,792,08324.22%
Ammar al-HAKIM Iraqi National Alliance 682,092,06618.15%
Jalal TALABANI Democratic Patriotic Alliance [KDP + PUK] 421,681,71414.59%
Nusherwan MUSTAFA Gorran-Movement for Change 8476,4784.13%
Jawad BOLANI Unity Alliance of Iraq 4306,6472.66%
Osama TIKRITI Iraqi Accord 6298,2262.59%
Salaheddin BAHAEDDIN Islamic Union of Kurdistan 4243,720 2.11%

David Ignatius wrote in The Washington Post on 09 January 2014 that "The greatest irony of all is that Iraqis voted in March 2010 to dump Maliki in favor of an alternative slate headed by Ayad Allawi, a pro-American former interim prime minister. In the horse-trading that followed, however, Maliki and his Iranian sponsors (bizarrely backed by the United States ) ended up forming a new government, with Vice President Joe Biden, the architect of U.S. policy (if that's the right word), proclaiming all the while that "politics has broken out in Iraq."

In January 2010, the Accountability and Justice Commission (AJC), led by Ahmed Chalabi, moved aggressively to compel the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) to ban some 500 candidates from participating on the pretext that they had Ba'athist ties.

The Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council faced strong competition from other Shi'ite parties in parliamentary elections in January 2010. The Council scrapped an alliance with Iraq's Shi'ite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his Dawa Party earlier in August 2009, and formed a new Shi'ite coalition to contest the vote. The Iraqi National Alliance (INA, in Arabic referred to as al-Ittilaf al-Watani al-Iraqi) became the first publicly confirmed major electoral alliance for the upcoming parliamentary elections. The new coalition included the two largest blocs of the United Iraqi Alliance or UIA - the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) and the Sadrists - plus elements from the pro-Iranian Daawa Tanzim al-Iraq branch, as well as Ibrahim al-Jaafari's breakaway faction.

On 01 October 2009 Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki announced the new line-up for his State of Law (dawlat al-qanun) list to contest Iraq's parliamentary elections, with the expected Daawa/Shiite Islamist core (including the main Tanzim al-Iraq faction). There were also a collection of breakaway elements, such as the Iraqi Communist Party which defected from the Iraqiyya coalition, as well as a number of independent Sunnis and secularist representatives.

The Unity of Iraq Alliance announced 21 October 2009 formed yet another "second-generation" cross-sectarian alliance in Iraq's post-Saddam politics, with participation by politicians from a variety of sects and ethnicities, connected common though somewhat understated ideological preferences. While the Unity of Iraq Alliance was cross-sectarian in spirit and origin, it leaned Sunni, with extensive links to the security apparatus, as Maliki's State of Law list leaned towards Shiite Islamists.

Iraq, given its proximity to Iran and its shared Shia heritage, represented a vital foreign policy priority for the Iranian government's (IRIG) efforts to project its ideology and influence in the region. An economically dependent and politically subservient Iraq would foster greater strategic depth for Tehran. Iran's over-arching political objective for Iraq's January election was the re-election of a Shia-dominated, preferably Islamist, coalition led by Tehran's closest allies, notably ISCI and the Sadrist Trend under the rubric of the Iraqi National Alliance coalition (INA).

As seasoned masters of the Iraqi political chessboard, Kurdish leaders such as Talabani and Barzani exploited their political strength among Shia/Sunni counterparts to protect and expand Kurdish influence in a future government. Iran's historic ties to the PUK, and to a lesser extent KDP officials, made the Kurds an important element in ensuring a pro-Iranian Shia victory in the election.

On 07 March 2010 Iraq held national parliamentary elections based on an open list system that elected the membership of the Council of Representatives, who would determine the next executive branch. In March 2010 dozens of Iraqi political parties and coalitions fielded thousands of candidates for parliamentary office, including both men and women. At least 12 million people cast their votes and more than 6,000 candidates took part in the polls, in which the party headed by Iyad Allawi, a former prime minister, received more votes than the coalition led by Mr. al-Maliki in the 325-member Council of Representatives.

Allawi won 91 parliamentary seats in the March 2010 elections and Al Maliki secured 89. Neither politician had enough votes to secure the 163-seat majority required to create a Cabinet. Iraq was left without a permanent government since the inconclusive election as the political bloc that won the vote had been unable to form a ruling coalition. Allawi pushed hard to displace Maliki as prime minister, saying any sidelining of his alliance could ignite Sunni anger and reinvigorate a weakened but still lethal Sunni Islamist-led insurgency [all of which proved true in 2013]. Allawi accused Iran of putting pressure on Iraqi leaders to keep the incumbent prime minister in office, while Maliki accused the former prime minister of pandering to Sunni Arab states, notably Saudi Arabia.

During the desultory government-formation negotiations, GOI ministries continued to function under the stewardship of caretaker ministers and career civil servants.

On October 1, 2010, Iraq set a record for the longest period a country had gone between holding parliamentary elections and forming a government (surpassing the previous mark of 207 days set by The Netherlands 33 years earlier). Seeking to facilitate an end to this enduring impasse, US diplomats ramped up efforts this quarter to convince Iraq's major political blocs to reach a final power-sharing agreement. The most significant development was the decision by self-exiled Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose bloc won 39 seats in March, to drop his opposition to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, bringing the sitting Prime Minister closer to obtaining the 163 seats needed to form a new government. However, the first-place finisher in the March election, former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, whose bloc won two more seats than al-Maliki's (91 to 89), also continued his efforts to attract enough supporters to form a governing majority.

The Constitutional Court interpreted the meaning of the “largest bloc,” which the law stipulated as the one allowed to form a government - the legal basis for Eyad Allawi's claim to form the government. The court ruled that the “largest bloc” meant either the largest electoral coalition or the largest coalition that formed after the elections. This latter meaning was the basis for Nouri Al Maliki to form the new government.

On 11 November 2010 Eyad Allawi backed down, accepting Nouri Al Maliki as the next Iraqi prime minister and settling for a new post created exclusively for him, head of the National Council for Strategic Policy. This put an end to the eight-month tug of war in Iraq between Allawi and Al Maliki. This unprecedented period of political stalemate seemingly came to an end during the parliamentary session on November 11. Allawi's bloc was given the post of parliament speaker, as well as a new ombudsmen position without clearly defined powers. Iraq's Sunni-backed Iraqiya faction said it would stay with efforts to produce a national unity government in the country. This came after an earlier walkout and harsh comments by the leader of the Iraqiya bloc, Ayad Allawi.

Newly elected parliament speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, a Sunni Arab, and roughly two-thirds of the other 91 lawmakers from the Iraqiya coalition -- including former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi -- walked out of the session to protest the rejection of a series of demands they made. Among them were commitments to release detainees and reverse the disqualification of three Iraqiya candidates for their alleged ties to the outlawed Ba'ath Party of executed former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Sunnis viewed the controversial de-Baathification process as a Shi'ite attempt to bar them from returning to power.

Notwithstanding former Prime Minister Allawi's harsh words for Iraq's new power-sharing deal, most international leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama have endorsed the pact as a step in the right direction. Many Iraqis have openly expressed hope that the deal holds and that it helps put an end to a recent upsurge in violence.

Iraqi Kurds felt they have solidified their role in government. Though the presidency is a largely symbolic position, Jalal Talabani had been able to wield considerable power because of his background as a longtime Kurdish leader.

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Page last modified: 27-07-2016 18:52:03 ZULU