Skip to comments.Iraq the Model goes deep inside the Iraqi election (excellent election analysis)
Posted on 12/11/2005 6:46:11 AM PST by FreedomNeocon
Iraq the Model goes deep inside the Iraqi election
By Mohammed of Iraq the Model, for Pajamas Media
In spite of the wide variety of political bodies competing in the December elections, making speculations and estimations is not difficult at all when one realizes that most Iraqis will follow their emotions, rather than minds, when they vote.
There will be little serious interest in exploring the platforms and programs of candidates and parties. Although we see more people and local media interviewing politicians and asking questions about programs and platforms, this increase in political awareness still cannot be considered the definitive method Iraqis will use to choose representatives. Sectarian or ethnic loyalties will still have a greater role in deciding the winning parties.
This is not unexpected, in a country that lived under a totalitarian regime for so many years, where the State wasnt the protector as much as were the tribe or family. Based on this fact, and by analyzing the nature of each electoral district, we can reach reasonably close estimations to whats going to happen.
But more important than all of this is the fact that in these few years, we have witnessed the birth of a sensibility that was buried for decades -- Iraqi patriotism. This sense is currently represented in three political alliances/parties that ignore the ethnic and sectarian issues in their platforms. Relatively speaking, they are looking at Iraq as a whole.
One of these groups won a good deal of votes in the January elections because of its patriotic -- or more accurately, nationalist -- program. This group, which we call a "list," led by former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, won 1.5 million votes. That's a high number considering the state of political awareness and sense of patriotism.
Allawi's list is expected to grow even bigger and stronger, although it is coming under harsh criticism from political opponents. Two other lists are also attracting nationalist -- not sectarian -- interest and passion: one led by Ahmed Chalabi and another by Mithal al-Alusi. The problem facing these lists is that growing voter interest will probably not translate into votes. However, I expect the 3 lists -- Allawi's, Chalabi's and al-Alusi's -- to bring some small surprises. They will become a core for patriotic lists that view an Iraqi as an Iraqi, regardless of religion, sect or race.
The new and interesting thing in this election is the large-scale participation of Sunni parties for the first time. These parties think they have a good chance to win many seats in the parliament. However, the departure of Salih al-Mutlaq from the National Accord Front to form his own movement leaves the remaining components of this list -- made up of the Islamic Party and the Ahl al-Iraq conference -- in a weaker position.
Al-Mutlaq is building his strategy on the idea that Sunnis are mostly secular and adhere less to the sect, and that they are closer to pan-Arabism than to Islam. However, the National Accord Front still concentrates on sectarian loyalty. Even though this is not declared in their platform, it is quite clear from those who makes up its membership.
Looking at the situation in various parts of Iraq, we can reach the following conclusions:
Erbil, Duhok and Sulaymaniya: In these provinces, the Kurdish alliance of the KDP and PUK will no doubt get something close to 90% of the votes since these two parties dominate the region while the remaining 10% will be distributed among smaller lists like the Kurdistan Islamic Union and the Assyrian Democratic Party.
Kirkuk: This province will witness fierce competition among the Kurds, Turkmen and Arabs. The Kurdish alliance dreams of winning 5 of the 9 seats allocated for the province. All of their claims concerning the identity of Kirkuk will be verified by how many seats they can get in Kirkuk. If they win more than half, it supports the Kurdish claims in Kirkuk. I think they are close to 5 seats but I dont expect them to achieve it. They will most likely get 4 seats, which is not bad for them. I expect the Turkmen and Arabs to share the remaining 5 seats. The votes of Kirkuks Arabs will be divided between Allawi, al-Mutlaq and the National Accord Front as well as some smaller lists or individual local candidates.
Mosul: This province is of great interest to all involved parties because it hosts the largest number of seats (19) after Baghdad (59). List number 618, whose formal name is the National Accord Front, seems to have the greatest opportunities of winning in Mosul since its main component, the Islamic Party, has a strong public base there. Theres also Allawis "731 list," which includes sheikh Ghazi al-Yawir, of the huge Shammar tribe based largely in Mosul. The Kurdish alliance is expected to win up to 3 seats as there is a large Kurdish population in suburbs such as Sinjar. Christian parties will win a seat or two.
There are also several smaller local lists concentrated mainly in the Sunni regions of the province, these lists count on tribal and family relations. They are also expected to win a few seats, especially since Sunni parties hadnt formed an alliance similar to, or as big as, the one formed by religious Sheat (Shiite) parties. This phenomenon also applies to Salahiddin, Anbar and Diyala.
Salahiddin: Most of the 8 seats of this province will go to the National Accord Front, Allawis list and al-Mutlaq. Theres also a chance that the United Iraqi Alliance can win a single seat.
Anbar: If violence doesnt disrupt the election, I expect the 9 seats of this province to be distributed between al-Mutlaq, National Accord Front and some local lists that represent the insurgents. Allawis "731 list" also has a chance to get one seat in Anbar.
Diyala: Has 10 seats and a variety of trends. I think the United Iraqi Alliance has a good chance here since the Shiite population in the province was subjected to severe pressures from Sunni insurgents and foreign (also Sunni) terrorists. I expect they will give their votes to the United Iraqi Alliance, amounting to 3 or 4 seats. I expect the Kurdish alliance and the Shiite Kurdish parties to get another 2 or 3 seats. The Sunni will most likely vote for al-Mutlaq, National accord Front and Allawi.
Baghdad: The capital, with 59 seats, is like a small Iraq. Here the United Iraqi Alliance is expected to win most of the Shiite votes -- up to 20 seats. The toughest competitors in Baghdad will be Allawi followed by National Accord Front, al-Mutlaq, Mithal al-Alusi and Chalabi. Minorities will get a few seats too, especially Christians and Kurds. A few seats will go to some minor lists.
The south and mid-south: In this region with 9 provinces most of the votes will go to 4 lists. The United Iraqi Alliance will get the lions share, perhaps 50 seats out of the total of 81 seats. Others will compete for the rest of the seats, including Allawi, Chalabi and Mital al-Alusi. Some smaller Sheat lists are expected only to win a few seats.
The compensatory seats: These 45 seats will be decided by Iraqi ex-patriot votes and excess votes from the provinces. For example, if it takes 40,000 votes to win a seat in a given province, and a particular list gets 42,500 votes, these extra 2,500 votes will be redirected to that lists share of compensatory seats. The rule applies for any list that wins less than 40,000 votes.
It is expected that these 45 seats will be distributed in a similar fashion to what we expect in Baghdad because ex-pats are from almost every province. The extra votes will be redirected from every province, so they will reflect the same diversity found in Baghdad.
United Iraqi Alliance domination: From the above we can see that the United Iraqi Alliance still has luck, and to some extent votes, on its side. The Alliance will again be the largest bloc in the parliament, with between 70 and 90 seats. This will grant them the right to have the future Prime Minister selected from amongst their members.
I think the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution (SCIRI), one of the two main Shiite political parties, will not give the PM post to the Dawa Party or the Sadrists. I expect the new Prime Minister to be a SCIRI member. The hot candidate here is Aadil Abdulmahdi, the current deputy PM.
However, this doesnt erase the fact that significant changes can happen at any time in the next few days. Allawi could be a tough competitor, but he will certainly need a great deal of luck to oust the United Alliance from leadership. Bottom line, every party or alliance -- other than the United Iraqi Alliance -- is looking forward to creating post-election alliances as a way to confront the domination of the United Iraqi Alliance.
Don't look now... looks like a Democracy is being born.
Mohammed and Omar provide a pretty good balance. I like to read their stuff mostly because it is "un-filtered". Thanks for posting the article for those that do not go the site.