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Monday, February 9, 2009

Iraq's Provincial Elections - The Initial Results

I'm working on an analysis of the initial results of the provincial elections. This will likely be the last bit included in the book as the rest of it is near the end of the typesetting process. I will post at least a portion of that analysis soon, but in the interim, here are some links and a quick synopsis.

A rundown of initial results of the January 31, 2009 provincial elections in Iraq can be found at the NY Times Baghdad Bureau Blog. A good, but brief, snapshot comparison of the 2005 and 2009 elections is here, also at the NYT blog. Alissa Rubin's analysis in the NYT is here.

For those who can read Arabic, the Independent High Electoral Commission's reports can be found on the press releases page. Scroll down to the releases from February 7, the title of the section is اعلان النتائج الاولية للانتخابات and links to results from each province are found at the bottom of the section.

In a short synopsis, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law Coalition (List 302) dominated much of the south, coming out in the top position in nine provinces and winning seats in every province except Anbar and Nineveh. The list gained large pluralities in Basra (37 percent), Dhi Qar, (23.1 percent), and Qadissiya (23.1 percent) and won a critical 38 percent in Baghdad.

ISCI was significantly weakened, but retained some power throughout the south, with their Martyr of the Mihrab and Independent Force List (List 290) finishing second to State of Law in six provinces and registering a third place ranking in two more. In Baghdad, though, the list’s 5.4 percent of the vote placed it behind five other lists. This was a crushing blow for a party that had controlled 54.9 percent of the Baghdad council for the three years prior.

The Sadrists made a modest showing, but their Liberals’ Independent Trend (List 284) won seats in eleven provinces, placing in the top three in Baghdad, Babel, Dhi Qar, Maysan, Najaf, Qadissiya, and Wasit. The Fadhila Party (List 174), former prime minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari's list (List 153), and Jawad al-Bolani's Iraqi Constitution Party (List 482) all won small numbers of seats across much of Iraq.

In the critical Sunni Anbar Province, the Iraqi Islamic Party, which allied with Ahmed Abu Risha (brother of slain Awakening leader Abd al-Sattar Abu Risha) and his faction of tribal forces, was relegated to a third-place position with 15.6 percent of the vote (List 433). This was a major realignment, compared to the 81.6 percent the IIP won in the 2005 elections that were boycotted by almost every other Sunni political force. Saleh al-Mutlaq’s Iraqi National Project Gathering (List 149) took the top spot, with 17.6 percent of the vote. The Alliance of the Awakening of Iraq and Iraqi Independents (List 239) followed closely, gaining 17.1 percent of the vote. Thus, the Awakening members were not completely successful in their quest to oust the IIP from Anbar.

What does all of this mean? I'll post soon on more election details and, more importantly, the implications behind the numbers.

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