Nur al-Cubicle

A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press. Daily timeline of events in Iraq as collected from stories and dispatches in the French and Italian media: Le Monde (Paris), Il Corriere della Sera (Milan), La Repubblica (Rome), L'Orient-Le Jour (Beirut) and occasionally from El Mundo (Madrid).

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Election Results

United Iraqi Alliance: 4.075 million votes, but not enough to guarantee an absolute majority. (48.1%). The alliance will win 140 out of 275 seats in the National Assembly.

The Kurdish alliance comes in second with 2.175 million votes (25.7%) translating into 75 seats in the assembly.

The list led by Premier Iyad Allawi received 1.168 million votes (13.8%) giving him 38 seats.

Ghazi Al-Yawar’s list can expect up to 5 seats.

Nationwide voter turnout was 58 %. In the Sunni province of al Anbar, turnout was 2%; in Sulaimaniya, also heavily Sunni, turnout was 29%.

It is unlikely that Iyad Allawi will hold on to the post of Prime Minister, given the crushing victory of the Shi’ite list. Furthermore, he was not successful in rallying both Kurdish leaders to his side over the last few days which the PM spent in the Kurdish capital, Erbil.

Contenders for the PM slot are Patriotic Union of Kurdistan leader Jalal Talabani*, current Finance Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi** and current Vice President Ibrahim Jaafari***. It is certain that Washington backs Mr. Mahdi, the SCIRI**** candidate, given his support for a market economy for Iraq coupled with decentralization of powers and development of the private sector. Ibrahim Jaafari of the Daawa Party***** is also very popular but little else is known about any plans, economic anyway, he might have for Iraq.

The looming battles will be about just how secular new Iraq is going to be (fat chance: SCIRI and Dawaa fight for an Islamic state for 50 years, and suddenly give it up to go secular?? I don't think so!--Nur) and the inclusion of Kirkuk in a possible Kurdish superprovince. Then there's the familiar loose cannon: what will be the reaction of the Sunni elite (and neighboring Sunni nations) to the eclipse of 80 years of power? (Answer: Hornets' nest.--Nur).


*b.1933, Kirkuk province. Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK): formed in March 1975 as a Leninist opposition grouping to the Barzani clan; led by Jalal Talabani and incorporating non-KDP groupings, the Komala of Nawshirwan Mustafa and Socialist Movement of Kurdistan of ‘Ali Askari. Was based in Damascus, and aligned itself closely with the Syrian government (who trained & armed them). Initially avoided siding overtly with Iran (partly due to Iran's repression of the Kurdish movement in Iran under 'Abd al-Rahman Qassemlou, an ally of the PUK), with Libya (who also gave training) acting as the main intermediary.

**b. Baghdad, 1942. President of SCIRI. Was imprisoned for political activism in the 1960s before fleeing to France in 1969. Trained in politics and economics, serving as head of the French Institute of Islamic Studies. Served as SCIRI's representative in Iran from 1992-96, and as the deputy member for 'Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim on the Governing Council.

***Nom de guerre is Abu Ahmad al-Ja'fari; often referred to as Ibrahim al-Ja'fari. b. Karbala, 1947, educated at Mosul University as a medical doctor, joining Da'wa in 1966; left for Iran in 1979, and moved to London in 1989. Spokesperson of al-Da'wa (formerly of London branch, now in Baghdad). Former member of the Governing Council.

****Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI, al-Majlis al-A‘la lil-Thawra al-Islamiyya fil-‘Iraq): the most prominent Shi‘a political grouping, with its main constituency in Southern Iraq and its base in Teheran. Was established on 17 November 1982 with the support of Iran (and during intense persecution of al-Da'wa), and was led by Muhammad Baqr al-Hakim

*****al-Da‘wa al-Islamiyya (Islamic Call: Da‘wa means an invitation to believe in the true religion): Established over 1957-58, based on an association of Najaf 'ulema, a political-religious grouping established to combat "atheism" (ie communism). Although it is widely seen as a Twelver (Ithna 'Ashari) Shi'a organisation, it has always had Sunni members. Backs a system of Islamic government under a dawla fikriyya, a doctrinal state with a mixed economy.


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