Politics & Economics

Negotiations continue as Sa'iroun comes out on top Iraq's elections

With no overall majority in the 2018 Iraq elections, parties are negotiating on alliances that will help them to pass the threshold for a clear mandate in Parliament. All parties have shown interest in allying themselves with, Sa'iroun, the party with the most seats, led by cleric Muqtada al Sadr.

On the 12th of May 2018, Iraq held its 5th parliamentary election since the fall of the Saddam regime, and the first since the defeat of ISIS. When the Independent Electoral High Commission of Iraq (IHEC) released the preliminary results on Monday 14th of May, many parties rejected the results, particularly in the Kurdistan Region, and demanded recounts in Kirkuk, Duhok and Sulaymaniya among other areas.

The preliminary results of the elections have brought into question the integrity of the elections as there have been concerns of violations, fraud and voter intimidation at the polling stations.

On Friday 18th of May, the elections’ final results were released by IHEC in a press conference held in Baghdad. The results placed the Sa’iroun Alliance, which is led by Muqtada al-Sadr, in first place with 54 seats in the upcoming parliament. The Fateh Coalition led by Hadi al-Ameri came second with 47 seats, while the Nasr Coalition led by the incumbent Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, came third winning 42 seats.

This election saw the decline of many personalities who in the past were able to mobilise followers, notably former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the current speaker of the house Salim al-Jubouri. Maliki’s party Dawlat al-Qanoon (State of Law), dropped from having 92 seats to 25 seats within the space of four years. Jubouri’s party did not win any.

After these results were released, the coalitions and parties soon began meeting with each other in order to negotiate the creation of larger blocs before the convening of parliament.

A bloc consisting of 165 seats must be formed in order to gain majority in the Iraqi Parliament which consists of 329 seats altogether.

As of today, no official coalition has been declared, although Muqtada al-Sadr, tweeted his intent to create a large bloc with most of the parties except for the Fateh Coalition and Dawlat al-Qanoon.

Since the tweet, however, Sadr has met with Ameri despite his initial statement, as well as Ammar al-Hakim, the head of the Hikma Party which won 19 seats, and Abadi to discuss a potential alliance between them.