Thursday, May 9, 2013

Major Winners In Iraq’s 2013 Provincial Elections (REVISED)


On May 4, 2013, Iraq’s Election Commission announced the final results for the 2013 provincial ballot. There were only a few small differences from the early count. Overall, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law was still the biggest winner, taking seven out of twelve provinces, and tied for an eighth. Amongst the other Shiite religious parties, the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) recovered from its sweeping losses in 2009, while the Sadrists largely treaded water. Speaker Osama Nujafi’s Mutahidun, The Uniters List, emerged as the main Sunni party, while Deputy Premier Saleh al-Mutlaq’s Arab Iraqiya did rather poorly. Iyad Allawi ran across the country on a secular and nationalist agenda, and did even worse. What comes next is even more important as these victorious lists negotiate with each other to put together new coalitions in each governorate. The big question is whether the Shiite religious parties will work together or whether the Supreme Council and the Sadrists will conspire against Maliki. In the end, this may be all talk, as the 2013 vote does not look to be changing the current political status quo in the country.

State of Law was the overwhelming victor in the 2013 election. It won Baghdad, Basra, Babil, Qadisiyah, Dhi Qar, Karbala, and Muthanna provinces, and was tied with the Supreme Council in Wasit. That was a drop from its 2009 finish when it took nine of the twelve provinces that voted this year. State of Law included more elements in this round of balloting like Fadhila and the Badr Organization. That meant its loss was even greater, which was shown in the number of seats it won. In 2009 it took 126 seats across twelve provinces, and this year it only won 108. In the larger picture, this was a defeat for Maliki who was hoping for a more sweeping victory to prepare him for the 2014 parliamentary elections.

The Supreme Council made a tremendous rebound from its poor showing in 2009. It finished with a first place tie in Wasit, six second places, two third places, and one fourth place. In 2009, it was punished for being the incumbent, and lost across the south and Baghdad finishing second in seven of twelve provinces. Now it came out with 61 seats compared to 55 in 2009. ISCI head Ammar Hakim has been trying to build his base back-up. It appeared that effort has reaped some rewards. ISCI could have also benefited from those unhappy with State of Law’s rule over the last couple years, and gotten their votes.

The Sadrists only saw a slight improvement. It won in Maysan, came in second in Karbala, along with five 3rd place and three fourth place finishes. That compared to 2009 when the best it could do was coming in second in Dhi Qar, along with five third places, and one fourth place. Still, that resulted in taking 47 seats this year, compared to 41 in 2009. Sadr would like to eventually replace Maliki and his State of Law as the main Shiite list in the country. It appears that Sadr is still quite some time away from being able to challenge the premier.

Speaker Nujafi’s Uniters List emerged as the main Sunni party (Reuters)

The Sunni vote in Iraq was split across various parties. That was the result of the Iraqi National Movement (INM), which won the most seats in the 2010 parliamentary vote, splintering. Speaker of Parliament Osama Nujafi’s Mutahidun, Uniters List, did the best, coming in second in Baghdad and Salahaddin. Deputy Premier Saleh al-Mutlaq’s Arab Iraqiya completely fell apart. In 2009, he ran as the head of the Iraqi National Project and came in second in Diyala, third in Salahaddin, and 5th in Baghdad. This year the deputy premier only took sixth place in Baghdad and Salahaddin. That disappointing finish was reflected in the fact that Mutlaq went from 13 seats in 2009 to only 5 in 2013. Iyad Allawi and his Iraqiya did the worst. He was the only candidate to run in all twelve provinces on a nationalist and secular agenda. He barely registered in the south, and could only take fourth in Diyala and Salahaddin, fifth in Baghdad, and sixth in Babil. In 2009, he took second in Salahaddin, third in Qadisiyah, fourth in Baghdad, Diyala, and Wasit, and fifth in Basra showing a much wider appeal in much more of the country. His seat count went from 24 in 2009 to 15 in 2013. Nujafi and Mutlaq also ran together in Diyala where they finished second, so they are going to add some more seats there. The INM was always an unwieldy list of too many leaders and parties. It quickly fractured after the 2010 election, and has now officially come apart. From those remnants Speaker Nujafi has emerged as the largest vote getter. He has championed opposition to Maliki, and the empowerment of Sunnis. Mutlaq on the other hand tried to align with the prime minister, and failed miserably. He appeared to be in trouble far before the vote however. Finally, Allawi’s decline may have been as much the result of his constant travelling outside the country, and poor leadership of the INM as much as the drop in popularity of nationalist and non-sectarian politics in Iraq.

Finally, the Kurdish parties did about the same this year as 2009. The main Kurdish groups ran as the Brotherhood and Coexistence List, and finished third in Diyala, just as it did in 2009, and seventh in Salahaddin. That gave it six seats versus four in 2009. That is a small amount, but they are important coalition partners in Diyala. The Shiite and Sunni parties will be coming to the Kurds to win them over to take control of that province.


Seats Won In 12 Provinces By Major Lists 2009 vs. 2013
Major Lists
2009
Seats Won
2013
Seats Won
State of Law
126
108
ISCI
55
61
Sadrists
41
47
Iraqiya
24
15
Uniters
NA
14
Arab Iraqiya
13
5
Kurds
6
6

Comparison of Winners in 12 of Iraq’s Provinces 2009 vs. 2013
List
Finish 2009
Finish 2013
Major Lists


State of Law
1st Babil, Baghdad, Basra, Dhi Qar, Maysan, Muthanna, Najaf, Qadisiyah, Wasit (9 total)
1st Babil, Baghdad, Basra, Dhi Qar, Karbala, Muthanna, Qadisiyah, Wasit (7 total)

-
2nd Maysan

3rd Karbala
3rd Najaf
ISCI
-
1st Wasit

2nd Babil, Basra, Maysan, Muthanna, Najaf, Qadisiyah, Wasit (7 total)
2nd Babil, Basra, Dhi Qar, Muthanna, Najaf, Qadisiyah (6 total)

-
3rd Baghdad, Maysan (2 total)

-
4th Karbala
Sadrists
-
1st Maysan

2nd Dhi Qar
2nd Karbala

3rd Babil, Baghdad, Maysan, Najaf, Wasit (5 total)
3rd Basra, Dhi Qar, Muthanna, Qadisiyah, Wasit (5 total)

4th Basra
4th Babil, Baghdad, Najaf (3 total)
National Coalition of Diyala, Salahaddin (State of Law, ISCI, Sadrists)
NA
1st Diyala

NA
5th Salahaddin
Uniters
NA
2nd Baghdad, Salahaddin (2 total)
Iraqi National Project/Arab Iraqiya
2nd Diyala
-

3rd Salahaddin
-

5th Baghdad
-

-
6th Baghdad, Salahaddin (2 total)
Iraqiya
2nd Place Salahaddin
-

3rd Qadisiyah
-

4th Baghdad, Diyala, Wasit (3 total)
4th Diyala, Salahaddin (2 total)

5th Basra
5th Baghdad

-
6th Babil
Iraqiyat Diyala (National Assembly of Iraqis & Arab Iraqiya)

2nd Diyala
Kurds
3rd Diyala
3rd Diyala

-
7th Salahaddin
Independents


Alliance of Iraqi People
-
1st Salahaddin
Loyalty to Najaf
4th Najaf
1st Najaf
Dignity Alliance of Iraq
-
3rd Salahaddin
Iraq Independent Professionals
-
3rd Babil
Youssef Majid al-Habboubi
1st Karbala
3rd Karbala
Basra Independent Coalition
-
4th Basra
Alliance of Independent People of Diwaniya
-
4th Qadisiyah
Communists
-
5th Babil
Justice and Unity
-
5th Basra
Salahaddin Turkmen List
-
6th Salahaddin

Major Winners In 2013 Provincial Voting By Governorate
Babil

List
Seats Won
State of Law
8
ISCI
7
Iraq Independent Professionals Group
4
Sadrists
3
Communists
2

Iraqiya
1

Baghdad

List
Seats Won
State of Law
20
Uniters
7
ISCI
6
Sadrists
5
Iraqiya
3
Arab Iraqiya
3

Basra

List
Seats Won
State of Law
16
ISCI
6
Sadrists
3
Basra Independent Coalition
4
Justice and Unity
1


Dhi Qar

List
Seats Won
State of Law
10
ISCI
7
Sadrists
5

Diyala

List
Seats Won
Diyala National Coalition
(State of Law, ISCI, Sadrists)
12
(10 State of Law, 2 Sadr)
Iraqiyat Diyala (Nujafi & Mutlaq)
10
Kurds
3
Iraqiya
2

Karbala

List
Seats Won
State of Law
7
Sadrists
4
Youssef Majid al-Habboubi
3
ISCI
3

Maysan

List
Seats Won
Sadrists
9
State of Law
8
ISCI
6

Muthanna

List
Seats Won
State of Law
8
ISCI
7
Sadrists
3

Najaf

List
Seats Won
Loyalty To Najaf
9
ISCI
6
State of Law
5
Sadrists
3

Qadisiyah

List
Seats Won
State of Law
8
ISCI
5
Sadrists
4
Alliance of Independent People of Diwaniya
4

Salahaddin

List
Seats Won
Alliance of Iraqi People
7
Uniters
5
Dignity Alliance of Iraq
5
Iraqiya
3
National Coalition in Salahaddin (State of Law, ISCI, Sadrists)
3
(1 State of Law, 1 ISCI, 1 Sadrists)
Arab Iraqiya
2
Salahaddin Turkmen List
1
Kurds
1

Wasit

List
Seats Won
State of Law
7
ISCI
7
Sadrists
5


There has been talk that Hakim (left) and Sadr (right) will align to shut out Maliki from the new governments in the south, but it might be just talk (Reuters)


The next move is to form ruling coalitions in each of the twelve governorates. This is moving forward, with lots of contradictory news reports emerging. One had Maliki and Hakim meeting in Baghdad to work out how they would rule in Basra and Baghdad, only to have the Supreme Council head allegedly turn down the premier. Hakim was quoted as saying that Maliki was pushing for a majority government, while Hakim wanted to be more inclusive. That didn’t seem to stop members of State of Law from announcing a new local government in Qadisiyah to be formed with the Citizen’s Coalition. Al-Mada reported that there were talks between the Sadrists to challenge Maliki by joining with ISCI to shut out State of Law. Later Moqtada al-Sadr and Hakim met in Najaf on May 8 where they confirmed that they had formed a partnership. Again, this was contradicted in Maysan, where a Dawa leader told the press that it was aligning with the National Partnership Gathering, which is an ally of the Sadrists. In Diyala, things are just as interesting. There, the Iraqiyat Diyala, which was Nujafi and Mutlaq’s joint list came in with 10 seats, said it would join with Allawi’s Iraqiya that won 2 seats to get the governorship. The problem is the joint Shiite religious list the Diyala National Coalition also has twelve seats. That means the Kurds are the kingmakers because whomever they throw their three seats behind will likely be the next ruler. In the south and Baghdad, the reports of pushing Maliki’s list out of power may be just negotiating tactics to win concessions. On the other hand, there is plenty of rivalry between the premier’s Dawa, ISCI, and the Sadrists. Since the prime minister controls the central government, which holds the real power over budgets and development out in the governments, the other Shiite parties may be convinced and bribed to all come together. Diyala is a much trickier situation. The Kurdish parties have had an on-going dispute with Maliki over a wide variety of issues like the budget and oil policy. At the same time, the Supreme Council has tried to keep up good relations with Irbil. The Kurds also have conflict with the Sunni parties over Kirkuk and the rest of the disputed territories. That means things could go either way. Which ever side offers the most incentives will likely gain the support of the Kurds.

Iraq’s 2013 governorate level elections maintained the current political deadlock within the country. Maliki’s State of Law as predicted came out the biggest winner, yet didn’t do as well as the premier hoped. His list suffered from being the incumbents, which failed to improve the conditions in the areas it ran. Those dissenting votes mostly went to the Supreme Council who staged a comeback after a sweeping loss in 2009. The prime minister faced another defeat when his would be ally Deputy Prime Minister Mutlaq got wiped out in the vote. Speaker Nujafi on the other hand, emerged as the main Sunni politician after the dissolution of the Iraqi National Movement. The coalition building is going on currently, and while there is talk of a possible revolt against the prime minister, his holding of the top office should allow him to cajole and coerce the other Shiite religious parties to fall in line behind him. The only real mystery left is which way the Kurdish Brotherhood and Coexistence list will go in Diyala. Looking forward to next year’s elections, the lines between the parties are pretty much set, and there does not look like any major changes took place within Iraq’s political system. The future therefore points to more bickering and arguing as Prime Minister Maliki lacks the support to create a majority government, which would make his rule easier, while his opponents are still weak, allowing him to play divide and conquer with them. Before, Iraq’s politicians always went to the brink over issues, and then in the final hour were able to come to a compromise. That is becoming harder and harder to achieve as the country’s leaders have become more polarized. The only thing that brings them together is to form ruling coalitions and passing the ballot, because they can then use those to gain power and money through the state. Otherwise, things are progressing in Iraq mostly despite the government, not because of it. 

SOURCES

AIN, “AIN’s Statistic. SLC 96 seats, Citizen 60 seats in results of PC election,” 5/4/13
- “Breaking news…Diyala National Alliance tops elections results in Diyala,” 5/4/13
- “Breaking News…Iraqiya Masses 1st in Salah ill-Din,” 5/4/13
- “New political alliance formed in Maysan,” 5/1/13
- “SLC, Citizen, Ahrar forefront electoral slates in Basra,” 5/4/13
- “SLC, Citizen Coalition top results of Babel PC slates,” 5/4/13
- “SLC tops electoral slates in Diwaniya,” 5/4/13
- “Strategic agreement between Citizen Coalition and SLC to form Diwaniya local government,” 5/8/13- “Urgent…PCs elections results…..SLC assumes first place in Baghdad,” 5/4/13
- “Urgent…Ahrar bloc 1st in Maysan,” 5/4/13
- “Urgent…..PCs elections results…..Wafa for Najaf assumes first place in Najaf,” 5/4/13
- “Urgent…SLC wins 7 seats amongst 27 in Karbala,” 5/4/13

Ali, Ahmed, “Iraq’s Provincial Elections and their National Implications,” Institute for the Study of War, 4/19/13

Al-Mada, “State of Law approaching loss of the Governments of Basra and Baghdad,” 5/1/13

National Iraqi News Agency, “Iraqiya Diyala List allies with Allawi’s coalition in Diyala,” 4/25/13
- “Sadr and Hakim discuss, in Najaf, the strategic partnership,” 5/8/13

Schreck, Adam and Yacoub, Sameer, “Iraq PMs group wins largest bloc in several areas,” Associated Press, 5/4/13

Sotaliraq, “The rule of law in Basra ally of other powers and the number one candidate in the Iraqi approaching them,” 5/2/13

Al-Tamimi, Iyad, “Maliki’s coalition retreat from the majority and described “big mistake” ..Hakim refused an offer from state of law exclusively,” Al-Mada, 4/24/13

Visser, Reidar, “Final Results of the Iraqi Provincial Elections 2013,” Iraq and Gulf Analysis, 5/4/13
- “The Intra-List structure of the State of Law Alliance in Iraq’s New Provincial Councils,” Iraq and Gulf Analysis, 5/7/13

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